Monday, September 27, 2010

Autumn harvest

When the sun was out the other day and I was walking back from the pasture with the dogs, I looked up and this is what I saw - my Spy apple tree laden with fruit. They're not perfect since I don't believe in spraying. I also didn't really do a good job on pruning this year.

My sons took quite a bit off the three apple trees in my mini-orchard early in the spring, but I never got the summer pruning done which would have ensured larger apples. Nonetheless I was thrilled with the vision of fruit against the blue sky... autumn at its best...

This is apple country in this part of Ontario, with 25 percent of Canada's apple crop coming from here. They are changing the way apples are farmed though. We won't be seeing the huge hanging branches of the old style apples for too much longer as farmers give way to the "modern" methods - vine growing apples that are picked by machines which travel the rows gently brushing the apples off the vines into baskets. Seven thousand acres are planted around here with this new type of growing by one company.

Here in Beaver Valley we have traditionally provided a lot of work for migrant workers. Some from Jamaica and Mexico only see their families for three months of the year, leaving here to go home for Christmas but returning in early March to begin thinning the old orchards and laying down fertilizer for the melting snow to carry into the ground. They are almost more Canadian than from away. It's not an easy life for them, but many farmers couldn't manage without them. I wonder what will happen when there are no more large apple trees... likely I won't see it in my lifetime, but still, I wonder.

And did you know the say "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is true. Apples have as many vitamins as oranges and in many cases are easier on the tummy. So instead of orange juice, I stick to the 100 mile diet and have an apple or locally grown and pressed apple juice or cider every day instead of something that comes from far away. Just something to think about. We should be supporting growers in our own neighbourhoods. At least that's how I see it. The upside is that an orange, clementine or grapefruit then becomes very special.

Enjoy your fall days... snow will be around all too soon.

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