Smoke is filtering out the sun. The hot August days are as cool as a warm day in March. Orchards, already struggling with a world glut of fruit, as the empty land shows below …
… are being hacked back this week, to get some sun on the apples. This usually happens two weeks from now, but this year it’s desperate. No sun, no sugar, no flavour, no anything at all. In an apple-growing method at the north of its range, with varieties pushed to their limit already, a 25% (?) reduction in sunlight is terrible.
The really sad thing is it’s not sugar that’s being aimed for here but colour, because colour, according to Canada’s food grading system, means sugar, although it doesn’t, but there’s no shifting things a century old.
You can refine them, though. Canada’s food grading system is really persnickety about apple shape. Apple shape, is, like super duper important, viz:
4.2 How to Report Misshapen Apples in Canada Extra Fancy
The general tolerance allows 5% of the apple to be less than the required shape in each grade. However, the Regulations permit an additional tolerance of 5% Canada Fancy Shape in Canada Extra Fancy. This 5% is added to the general tolerance.
When this additional tolerance is combined with the general tolerance, the total allowed of less than Canada Extra Fancy shaped apples would be 10%. However, no more than 5% of this 10% can be apples of less than Fancy shape
Got that? Check out the apple on the far left of the war zone below. That baby has a shape too weird from having two of those (misshapen) apples on the ground bounced against it a few weeks back.
Flavour, though? Hardly. It’s cheaper to hire Mexican labour at low wage rates (perhaps 50% of the wage that would otherwise be paid) to individually discard every apple (well, not the one on the right below, another ding, or the one to the right of centre, dag nab it…
that doesn’t ripen at the same time, and to pay them to slaughter the trees with a hedge trimmer, than to pick the apple three times. Why are we picking apples three times? Because this is a silly variety (royal gala) to grow, and it’s grown just to try to compete with New Zealand, which can sell better apples into Canada than Canada can, because Canada should be growing processing apples and winter apples, not this silliness.
But we are. As for these tortured trunks, that’s because growers are using the very fashionable dutch dwarfing rootstocks without (the individual at the left is certain proof) understanding anything about the little guys.
This is (and I weep) an industry slated for the trash heap. Apples are the indigenous crop of all central Asian and European peoples. Billions of people. Is this the best we can do with that heritage? If it is, why are we even talking about “truth and reconciliation” with Canada’s indigenous people? We can’t even freaking grow an apple with respect. Well, as Thoreau said, what you do to apples is what you do to men. The carelessness and cynicism of this method speaks volumes about Canadian politics. If we can’t respectively grow an indigenous crop on this land, we need to leave, and that’s not the resolution I am advocating. But, hey, let’s get our act together.