I have been an apple picker for nine seasons. In that time I have learned a great deal about the apple, how it is grown, tended and harvested. But in that time I have also spent countless hours out among the apple trees, many of them solitary. All this time has given me the opportunity to think more about the significance of this fruit, how it has worked its way into the fabric of our lives. More than that however, I also think about the apple as metaphor, as myth.
During these seasons, the apple harvest has worked its way into my own life. If I was not out in the trees picking, climbing ladders, listening to tractors off in the distance hauling off full bins of apples, I would feel like a part of me was missing. I know this might sound cliche, but an orchard in the fall seems like the only place that feels like home.
I don't keep a journal, I never have been very good at that, but I wanted a way to share some of my experience as an apple picker, the "culture" of apple picking you might call it. My idea was to keep a daily journal of the approximately two month long apple picking season. However, more than that I wanted to share the many things I have learned about apples as well as the my own thoughts and realizations about the fruit.
The apple has made its way into out literature, mythology, and cookbooks not to mention our bodies for centuries. I would love to explore this more, and I hope to learn as much by doing this as will anyone who chooses to read what I write.
The apple has been taken from the tree, remade, polished and placed in a little box labeled "Red Delicious." I want to open that box and examine what is really inside. Through my stories and journal keeping I also hope to give a glimpse into the lives of fruit pickers or more broadly food growers and harvesters, people who have been largely marginalized and forgotten.
Like an apple seed, which will almost certainly not produce anything like the apple it came from when planted, I do not know exactly where this will lead, or what will come from it, but I hope it is something that is compelling, slightly nostalgic at times, informative and entertaining. Let the seed grow!