Agriculture

Why Are We Growing Apples Industrially Anyway?

So, need a scary hint of sweetness in your life without bankrupting yourself with a trip to Voodoo Donuts in Portland or their satellite shop in Los Angeles? Want to live dangerously and love what kills you?

 

Here in the Okanagan, we have just the thing:

Awww, look at them there, all shined up with wax and everything, but look at the savings! And the variety of waxes any packer has to choose from:

Animal waxes: Bees wax, Spermaceti wax, Shellac wax and Chinese insect wax
Vegetable Waxes: Carnauba wax, Candelilla wax, Sugarcane wax, Palm wax, Esparto wax
Mineral and synthetic waxes: Ozocerite and Montan wax

But I have to tell you, Shellac is recommended for export quality apples with the greatest shine. Carnauba wax, also recommended in Canada, can turn white, but you gain on the ghoul front, so maybe that’s great. As for shellac, pshaw, it’s good old stuff from India, very beautiful, and adds a nice warm, ripe colour, too:

And that’s not bad for the congealed bug gick of the female lac bug.

All very pretty, and, like, 100% organic. Here’s the whole team hard at work for you!

Hungry? Watch the prices! You can see the carnauba wax on the ones below:

And what is Carnauba wax? Aha, off to the source of all commercial information in the world, the one and only Wikipedia!

Carnauba Wax Origin

Carnauba wax is a natural wax. It comes from the leaves of the Copernicia pruniferapalm grown only in Brazil. The wax is obtained by beating the wax off of the dried palm fronds and then refining it for use. The pure wax is yellow in color.

Carnauba Wax Chemical Composition

Carnauba wax consists of fatty acid esters (80-85%), fatty alcohols (10-16%), acids (3-6%) and hydrocarbons (1-3%). It is around 20% esterified fatty diols, 10% methoxylated or hydroxylated cinnamic acid, and 6% hydroxylated fatty acids.

So, that’s nice. I mean, even gummy bears are coated in the stuff.

No, wait, cars.

Oh my. Well, it even smells sweet. But I was wrong about Wikipedia. It knows not all. Here’s what the carnaubian car care geeks over at autogeek.net know that even the great Wiki doesn’t:

Carnauba car wax is the hardest natural wax known to man.It’s produced by a palm tree in Brazil to coat its leaves and shield them from the intense tropical sun. It sheds water and its clear. The wax is harvested every year and graded according to its color, where it was grown, and its purity. The highest grade wax is put into car wax.

Did you get that, Royal Gala? You are playing second fiddle to your plantation owner’s Dodge Ram!

Bummer. Still, waxes aren’t humanly digestible, so, pshaw, no worries, man. And, like, we are still on the hunt for nutrition:

Two teaspoons of sugar and you are pretty much done. Perfect! Still, Carnauba wax comes from palm trees, so that’s good, and shellac comes from, well, bugs, so…oh, bugger. Maybe you don’t want to be licking the lac of too many lac beetles and are looking for the lack of bugs, period, as you relax lackadaisically above the lac. No bugs, you say! Swat! If so, perfecto, boy oh boy, do we ever have the deal for you. Here’s an Okanagan farmer a couple days ago, killing off those bugs like nobody’s business.

Right through the royal galas like Rama himself, smiting left and right with divine magic.

You can see that a few days ago he smote down that grass but good with some Roundup, too. Perfect. But here’s the thing: an organic apple, not grown by the above Smiting and Waxing method, and that likely hasn’t gone through a half year of controlled atmosphere storage to earn its fine low price because it can only last a week once it’s out of the crypt, adds vitamins to the sugar mix. Imagine that.

Now, this is a larger apple, 154g instead of 100g, but we can do the math for the littler BC Tree Fruits lunch-pack-for-your-kids pack, right? Sure. 12% Vitamin C would drop to 9%, and 2% Vitamin A would drop to 1.3%, but it’s something, right? You bet. So, imagine that something like 123,488 small royal gala apples or, more likely, 61,744 large ones are picked on each acre of this orchard:

That’s pretty much 136 kilograms of sugar (pricey!), and if you didn’t do what the man above is doing, you would add about 13.5 kilograms of Vitamin C and enough Vitamin A to turn a goat orange, or something like that, or maybe perhaps a chair. Who needs the lac of the lac above the lac, right? Right.  Back and forth and back and forth and you’ll be done soon enough.

Ah, but what you don’t know won’t hurt you, besides, it’s none of our business.

 Either that or “private property” is a boondoggle. Well, there’s nothing for it. Ask Animapedia :

Yes, that’s the gala orchard down below, behind its fence.

There are a lot of ethical knots in agriculture, that’s for sure.

2 replies »

    • Apples are conveniently stored for 14 months in exterrestrial environments. It’s like a remake of Aliens. Sigh.

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