Shopping for apples in a supermarket you are likely to find just a handful of names. Red or Golden Delicious – a misleading name if there ever was one because as hard as I try I can find nothing the least bit delicious about them – then there is Jonathan, Granny Smith, McIntosh, and just a few more. As far as I am concerned not a one among them to get excited about.
Out of the thousands of varieties of apples why do we only find a handful in the stores? Because in order for apples to be of use to the professional grower they must have certain characteristics; being tough enough to transport is probably number one on the list, resistance to certain diseases is another, closely followed by how long the fruit will keep nice and crisp looking, and then of course the trees have to produce reliably year after year.
If you were to look at the apple trees in our garden right now, their branches so heavy with fruit they in places touch the ground, you might be tempted to conclude that these varieties would be in the list of must haves. Their skins so beautiful they appear as if someone had taken a paint brush to them, a taste that must be experienced, sweet and juicy and tart at the same time. Most of the trees have been around so long that generations of wood-peckers have been raised in the holes in their branches. They look like the old warriors they are, gnarled and bent, yet still they produce an abundance of delicious fruit. Every other year that is. This year we don’t know what to do with the harvest, next year we might, if we are really, really lucky, get a dozen apples from five big trees.
In another week or so we will start picking, but since everything in our garden is allowed to grow naturally without pesticides or chemical feritlizers, there is a bit of windfall. And this is where the title of this post comes into play – do not venture under the apple tree on a breezy day, unless you are equipped with a footbal helmet that is