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I've never liked shiny perfect apples, perhaps because I grew up surrounded by apple trees and never had any kind of issue with smaller, deformed apples. They're so much tastier, and it speaks to the power of marketing that people would trust what they see on TV more than their own taste buds. I'm lucky that where I am we have lots of local farmers who sell funny looking apples at the market, so I'm never even tempted to go with the waxy shiny thing.

Great post and reflections. I do admit to at times having grabbed the "fresher" milk from the shelf. I've never thought of it in terms of hurting my community, but it's a good point you make and I'll keep that in mind next time.

01/12/12 @ 14:35
Comment from:

Sven: These are the crazy things I think about because I, like you, am aware of my place among a larger picture. This is also the kind of thinking my grandmother had done, too. I used to think she was just setting herself up to "get screwed," but then I began to dream about how beautiful the world the could be if everyone came around -- even just a little -- to her perspective. That was 30 years ago. Today's world is still filled with marketing efforts that continue to train us to follow the same old habits, but I have to wonder how many others hide the fact that they prefer funny looking apples, put community first, and consume responsibly.

Thanks to the power of Internet communication, at the very least we know there's a gal in PA (me) and a guy in CA (you) who are willing to openly admit it. May we inspire others to speak up too. And maybe, just maybe, those tasteless, waxy, shiny things will someday go away.

01/12/12 @ 15:57
Comment from: Warren A. Jacobs

Unfortunately a lot of people want their apples to look perfect. It's the fault of the consumer that apple growing has to be so pesticide intensive. Now of course I really would not want my apples to be wormy, either.But all it takes to prevent that is a control spray just after blossom drop to control codling moth larvae. And it doesn't need to be with something nasty - Bt and spinosad will do the job as well as carbamate, won't hurt bees, and are even ok for organic growers!
I'm not a complete freak about avoiding pesticides. But with something like those perfect supermarket apples that obviously have been sprayed all season long, I'd at least like to be able to wash off what's on the outside. But how am I supposed to do that when they're waxed over?
Back in November I bought some apples at Hennings. The choice was: waxed or organic. I payed the big bucks and bought the organic.Mistake. They tasted awful. Who knows how far away they were grown or how old they were? Then I bought some at Shanesville orchard on RT 73 N. of Boyertown. Not organic. Not perfect either. But perfect TASTING!
We can buy apples any time of year, they can be kept in nitrogen storage for over a year. Plus they're shipped here from New Zealand when it's their fall and our spring. But if you want them to taste good they need to be local and fresh. My attitude for apples is the same as for tomatoes.If they don't taste good, why bother? I'll wait 'till they are in season.
BTW Ruth- Shanesville sells baskets of imperfect apples for really cheap. And they have an awesome selection of varieties new and old.

01/13/12 @ 08:50
Comment from:

Warren: What is worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm? Biting into an apple and finding half a worm.

Seriously though, if the saying goes, "as American as apple pie," then why would we want to buy apples from anyplace else?

I must admit that I like a really crisp apple for snacking. The firmer the better. How long can I expect to get a crisp apple from a local grower? I guess I expected them to be sold out by now.

01/13/12 @ 09:41
Comment from: Kath

Funny as I sit here reading your blog I am eating a perfect round granny smith apple. I have to admit the only reason I purchased it was because it was on sale and yes I did look for a bruised free apple. I’m feeling rather guilty at the moment but the pretty yellow apple is delicious. And I am also guilty of checking dates on everything not only milk. It‘s a bad time of the year for local produce. I will return to the farmers market in the spring and hopefully feel much less guilty about my purchases then and the effects on the community.

01/13/12 @ 10:35
Comment from:

Kathy: Spreading guilt is never my intention which is the toughest part about writing this blog. Remember, in my story I was going to cook my apple. I also think another big problem with dates is that the stores have to be over inventoried to appear competitive, so consumers must be vigilant for outdated merchandise. And, yes, bring on the season of fresh produce. Life is frozen 'till then.

01/13/12 @ 11:32

Ruth, once again you've really made me think. I love going to the local farmers' market when I can but I totally admit to looking for the blemish free produce at the grocery store and checking for the longest expiry date. Thank you for making me realize those choices aren't straightforward and have potential consequences that matter to me. I'm still pondering.

01/13/12 @ 21:29
Comment from:

Karen: Thanks for the confession! Same as I, you're doing as you were taught. Freshest and best have been drilled into our heads through relentless marketing competition, but there are times when 'est isn't all that there is. Marketers compete for our choice; that's what they have to do. Sadly, the consumer has learned to compete too, but as you say, it's not so straightforward when your neighbor is the competition.

01/14/12 @ 06:35