Do you remember that phrase? The apple is supposed to keep the doctor away, right? During this time of year though, why would anyone want to be too far from a sweet, crisp, tree-ripened apple? Late summer into fall is the prime time for fresh apples and the doctor’s orders call for the enjoyment of this wonderful fruit.
According to the Washington Apple Commission, Americans consume around 19 pounds of fresh apples per year.1 I would anticipate that most people only know what the apples look like once they’ve been processed and presented on store shelves though. By then the little spheres of deliciousness are all shiny and enticing. If you really want to get to the heart of an apple’s greatness, you have to go to it’s home; where the apple begins life.
While home for my grandmother’s birthday this past month, I visited the Garwood Orchard in LaPorte, IN with my parents and wife. It was my goal of photographing the changing of the season and the harvest bounty. My wife had also never been to an apple orchard before, so it seemed right to check it off the list. Even I hadn’t been to the orchard since I was a kid.
It only took a couple minutes of walking down the rows of trees for me to remember how much fun it could be. The air was filled with the sweetness of the fruit and the coolness of the fall air. Damp grass reached up from the orchard floor, creating a soft contrast to the sharper edges of the tree leaves. With over 13 varieties grown at Garwood, we almost couldn’t decide what type to pick. In the end, we went with Cortland variety, since we’d never seen those grace the produce departments here in California. A pinch of sampling and a bag of goodness to-go made the day complete.
Apples aren’t the only items grown at Garwood, as is the case with many farms across the nation. They also produce berries, mushrooms, vegetables and an education. The small market onsite is connected to the sorting and processing facility with viewing glass, allowing you to watch the apples take their course. Knowing and interacting with where your food comes from heightens the appreciation and respect for what’s on your plate. If you have a farm nearby that allows a walkthrough or tour, wrangle a friend or round up the family and go on a fieldtrip. See what the food is all about. It may be just what the doctor ordered.