Wednesday, March 6, 2013

an apple a day

When I was a school girl I ate one granny smith apple every day.

Every single day of my thirteen school years, I'd eat one, perfectly shaped, perfectly green apple. It didn't matter what day it was, what time of the year it was, or what was going on with the weather, there was an apple in my lunch and I ate it.

And you know what? In all my years of apple eating, I don't think I ever gave much thought to those apples; to how they were grown, or stored, or even transported.

It never occurred to me that apples took an entire year to grow and that there was actually an apple season. I had no idea that many of those school apples would have sat for months and months in cool storage, that some would have travelled across the globe to get to me, that all would have passed the perfect apple supermarket test and that they would have been sprayed with herbicides and fungicides and sunscreens to protect them from blemishes and nasties. And I certainly never would have given much thought to apple varieties, in my mind there were three; green, red and golden.

I'm also sure that when I bit into my apple at school every day, I never considered the family who grew it. The family who looked after the trees and spent their autumn days carefully filling bags and crates with their delicious crop. 

Apples were just apples.

These days my school girls have apples in their lunches for maybe four months of the year. Most of the heritage varieties we grow don't store very well, so the apples they take would have been picked in the past two or three weeks.

These days the apples they eat range from enormous to teeny-weeny and come in a wide range of colours and even shapes. Of the 40 varieties we grow only some are for eating at school, while the others are cookers or for making cider.

These days my girls know exactly where the apple in their lunch box came from, they often know the name of the variety and sometimes even what we were talking about or the games we played while we picked it.

Although the start of autumn always makes me feel sad that the days are getting shorter and colder, it also makes me happy to be at the delicious end of the apple growing season.

Our wonderful orchard trees that slept through winter, grew leaves, blossomed, were pollinated by the bees and set fruit in springtime and put all their energy into growing that fruit over the summer, are finally changing the starches to sugars and loosening their hold, allowing us to pick and enjoy the fruits of their year long efforts.

It is a wonderful thing to watch each branch of an apple tree bounce back higher once we have lightened its load of heavy fruit. It is an incredible feeling to feed our family fruit we have grown and the knowledge and stories of how we came to grow it.

Happy apple season!



  1. They'll remember those apples when they're mothering their own families and thats all that matters! Such a sweet story.

  2. it certainly gives you a much greater appreciation of the "behind the scenes".

    Can I ask about your pup - is it a Spaniel/Poodle cross? How do you find them as a breed? Pros and cons? Thinking of one as our next pet but not certain...doing my research.

    PS Granny smith girl all the way here - love their tart crispness. Not a big fan of the red (unless made into an apple pie or crumble HmmmmmMMmmm)

    1. Jo Jo is a miniature poodle in desperate need of a clip.
      He's a fantastic guard dog and farm dog but not terribly affectionate.

  3. There is nothing better than picking an apple straight from the tree and eating it then and there. We had cooking apple trees when I was little and I have so many memories of picking the fruit and wrapping them in newspaper to store for the winter.

  4. Apples are my app-solute favourite! Yes I suppose I never really thought about where my supermarket apples came from or how long they had been in cold storage, but we did have a friend with an apple orchard in their garden and I would eat their apples right off the tree hot in the sun.

  5. Beautiful photos. Yes, the best apples I've ever tasted were those bought next to the road in the Langkloof here in RSA, or the organic ones on a farm in France. Those in the plastic bag in the supermarket - they just don't cut it!

  6. Beautifully put....I absolutely love knowing where my food has come from and who has grown it and love that my son has that connection through going to the farmers market and helping out at the working bees at our community orchard. But I have never thought about it in such depth as you've put it here and it's so good to do so....especially with your recent issues with birds stealing some of your apples.

    We have several apple trees at home, including one called a Monty's surprise...a variety recently discovered in NZ. The apples we've been getting are enormous - I've just picked one that weighs 1 1/2 pounds on our old kitchen scale!

  7. Everything about this post is beautiful Kate x

  8. I love this. And strive to have less of the store bought fruit and vegetables in my home. And more locally grown and seasonal product. To live seasonally, locally and support my community. Thank you for making it personal. xx

  9. What did you say about apples? I was listening really but My golly gosh your pictures are just too stunning.I wanted to keep going back to them esp the one of the little shorts and apple in those little hands.
    Can't wait to see what you do with them all.

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  11. beautiful photos! i want to eat an apple now. :)

  12. My Hubby just leant over my shoulder whilst I was reading this and he said: Wow.. where's that! It looks like paradise. I told him about you... where you live... what you do... your determination as a family... he gushed over your range cooker... he gushed over your land... he gushed over your photos. We're going to harvest our tomatoes and try our hand at your semi sun drieds... deepish!. I tried my hand at a Basil pesto using cashews instead of dairy the other day - so easy... One cup cashews, leaves of three bunches of Basil, a small clove of garlic, juice of a small lemon, sprinkle of sea salt and EVOO to ones' desired consistency... wazzed up in a blender or food processor... Voila! Thanks for sharing your goodness with us. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  13. In my books, you can't beat a good fresh apple for flavour and yumminess!

  14. I made JR read this post.
    it made his heart soar :)

    ps i adore you! true story.

  15. I do love this whole entire post Kate and your apples look soooo tempting. The color is amazing! Beautiful pictures.

  16. Our apples and pears are finally ready too. Some were knocked off the trees by strong winds, some had too much water when it rained and rained but now we can eat them! Our teeny orchard has three apple trees - two granny smiths and one golden delicious and two pear trees. I don't know what they are. We inherited our orchard when we became only the second owners of our 1946 house and although I'm sure we don't look after the trees, especially the poor stone fruit, as well as the original owners we are learning to. I think they'd be pleased that we're trying.

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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