Agriculture

Labour, Luxury and Oil in Vernon

Apples are produced so cheaply in Washington on Mexican labour, and run so cheaply over huge packing lines, and sold so cheaply through integrated wholesale and retail sales chains, that here in Canada we pay Mexican labourers to throw them on the ground so that only the most beautiful can be picked, and all at the same time instead of in three pickings. We couldn’t do it if we paid a living wage, or if we needed fruit volume, run through a grading system, to keep our economy running. Instead we have oil and capitalization, depreciation and tax write offs. Do you like royal galas? Here they are, baking in the sun.

Only a very few are left on the trees.

When ripe, they will cost $1.50 each: luxury items only. Even that will not pay for this investment. Obviously, it doesn’t have to. It is not the Earth that is farmed but capital and customers. Such are the intricacies of life in the petro state.

8 replies »

  1. And the Royal Gala is, at best, an uninteresting apple. Recently I bought freshly picked strawberries from a local farm shop and was stunned by the taste. The big manufacturers have to teach us first to put up with tasteless food convincing us that the only thing that matters is price.

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    • Sadly. By the way, it’s Ribston Pippin (a fine apple that doesn’t keep long) x Newtown Pippin (a fine apple that keeps long), to make Cox’s Orange (a fine apple that doesn’t grow in the heat) x Red Delicious (a terrible apple that is easy to grow) to make Kidd’s Orange x Golden Delicious (a fine, easy-to-grow and very sweet apple) to sweeten it up to make Gala (a mediocre apple with a very pale colour) which mutated into now several generations of red sports, most called “Royal Gala”. Every time there is a colouor mutation or sport, flavour is lost. The Dellicious, for instance, tasted better than the Red Delicious, which is just pig fodder. We will be revisiting this theme!

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      • Back in the 1970s my mother worked in a fruit farm in the English county of Sussex (the land of the south Saxons😊). She got me a job there in my student days working on the fruit harvest. We began with strawberries in June, raspberries in July and early August and then apples in late August and September. The main apple that we picked there was the Cox’s Orange Pippin. I took it all for granted, as young people do, day after day under the summer sun wandering through the orchards filling our baskets with delicious fruit.

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      • And the orchards I grew up on were intended to extend that idyll to a new continent. And it was beautiful for a long time, too.

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