Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Apple Harvest Is Healthy and Fun

It's that time of year for the fall apple harvest season a time of good healthy fun. So here is a little story about the apple. I had discovered eight different varieties scattered and hidden while hiking some property a few years back and I often wondered just how many different apples there were compared to what we saw in the store.

The common apple, Malus Doestica originally comes from the region of the world we know as Kazakhstan, a country located in Central Asia. The apple is a descendant from a wild fruit that was one of the first fruits to ever be domesticated by man for consumption. Estimates today put the number of different named varieties at nearly fifteen thousand. A staggering number when you consider that the number of varieties you typically find in local supermarkets can be counted on one hand; Red Delicious, Fuji, Royal Gala, Braeburn, and Granny Smith. Ok, so maybe you can find a few more like the Rome or McIntosh but this is just a small sample of the vast choices you could have. The reasons for this are quite simple really. Economics. Those varieties ship well, last longer, have been bred for uniformity and worst of all are picked very young before fully achieving maturity then are ripened with a gas ripening agent before shipping.

This is fall harvest season and many states will celebrate with Apple Festivals and more. Do yourself a favor and search out a local farmers market, road side stand or even a dedicated heirloom grower in your region and discover something new. An heirloom variety apple picked fresh, grown without chemicals and not gassed with a ripening agent. This could be a fun inexpensive and healthy thing to do on those shorter fall weekend days when you notice the day slipping by a little faster but still want something fun to do. Not to mention buying locally keeps your money in the local economy helping to support your community.

If your really gung ho about apples then consider planting a tree for yourself or community. While your at it really consider an heirloom variety to help preserve the heritage and diversity of these wonderfully healthy plants. The Big Horse Creek Farm provides hundreds of varieties of sapling that you can have delivered to your door ready to plant. What a cool thing to do and healthy too because apples are loaded with vitamins, minerals & antioxidants called Polyphenols that are beneficial in preventing heart disease, breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

Need help finding a market: Find A Local Farm or Farm Market. All you have to do is click on the farm market button, enter the product you want and city your in then press search. Whalla! Your in business. If that doesn't help, just start doing a Google search for your area and I am sure you will discover something useful.

Eat healthier. Consider joining a CSA - Community Supported Agriculture Project CSA

Reference: Kent Priestly
A Growing Legacy - Kent Priestly
Apple Nutrition Facts
Science Daily
Image: Fotosearch


Small Footprints said...

In the fall there is nothing better than visiting an orchard and choosing a variety of freshly picked apples. We visit a farm in Fairview and the proprietors have turned their farm and orchard into a fun experience for the whole family. It's more like a celebration of fall.

Thank you for the link to the heirloom orchard. Wish I had somewhere to plant one of their trees ... guess I'll just have to settle for eating their apples. :)

Wonderful post, as always!

Small Footprints

Ratty said...

We're lucky to have plenty of apple orchards here in Michigan. Many times if you're lucky enough to live close to one, they'll give you as many as you want for free.

Real Simple Healthy Living for You said...

I just wrote an article on apples today more on the health benefits though and just a small bit of history. Going to the apple orchard is a tradition in my family every year. Great minds think alike. :)

TC said...

@smallfootprints. That's very cool about the farm in Fairview. I will look into it. Your welcome for the link.
@Ratty. I remember doing that as a kid. Now that we are back up north a bit from Florida we can partake in this again. We are looking forward to it this week.
@Real Simple. I stopped by earlier today but didn't see that article. I will stop by tomorrow and check it out.

Brian, the old man said...

Granny Smith are my favorite. I love apples. We used to have apple trees in our back yard; An apple picked straight from the tree is great.

TC said...

I'm right there with you Brian, I love apples too. Royal Gala's are one of the conventional favorites of mine. Now that I am up north a bit and have access to other unique heirloom varieties, I plan on exploring some of these like the Disharoon and Rusty Coat.