A couple of years ago, some friends and I went up to Nova Scotia in Canada for a deep-sea fishing trip, and on the way, we decided to go on an apple picking tour at a local orchard. I know, exhilarating compared to wrestling with 500lbs Blue-Fin Tunas in the deep sea, while sailing across the raging Canadian waters in the October cold. Apple picking is where it’s at it, trust me. But all jokes aside, we continue on the tour, learning the history of the orchard and the process of planting apple trees, and tending to them until they eventually bear fruit. And of course, as the main attraction for this apple touring extravaganza, we got to pick apples from the apple trees.
Me being me, I just had to know what a freshly picked apple tasted like. They were like glowy red pearls barely dangling from their flimsy branches, just begging to be eaten. And to be honest, I had skipped breakfast and was starving. But that first bite into that apple was kind of indescribable, it’s hard to put it into words. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of apples before, and they were all relatively “market fresh,” but those apples were nothing compared to the one in my hand. It’s as if I had achieved a true sense of apple nirvana for a split moment, bound between a state of bliss and understanding of what it truly means for fruit to be fresh. Long story short, It was good. Real good.
The apple was packed of juice, and it kept flowing out like a never-ending fountain, replenishing my hunger and apparent thirst with every bite. I finished my apple, my hands sticky, and continue to pick, fulfilling my duty as a dedicated apple tourist. Once the tour was over, my friends and I bought the apples we had picked, and continued on our journey of fishing fun.
What was extremely disappointing, however, was that I never got the same taste of an apple again. I had one of the same apples the day after the orchard tour, and it was just different. It was still really good, but there was a noticeable difference in terms of freshness, it just didn’t hit me the same way as the apple I had plucked from the tree. And the apples I had from that point on, the ones I bought at my local supermarket, just seemed miles off the one I had in the orchard. Not to throw shade at the apples currently in my fridge, but it dawned on me that even though the apples in my supermarket are labeled fresh, they’ve spent days away from the tree, from being picked, to packaging, transporting, handling, labeling, shipping, before finally, being placed in a supermarket where they wait even longer to be chosen. And after that entire fiasco, they would sit in your fridge or kitchen for even longer, before finally being consumed. It was no wonder the apples we buy don’t compare to the ones almost immediately picked, the freshness factor plays a vital role in taste. It was so noticeable, it made me a little apple-nostalgic.
Since that experience, I’ve taken up gardening, finding freshness in my own food. I’ve grown peppers, tomatoes, basil, and more, and I have to say, you can definitely taste the difference in freshness. It’s just better, it can’t be described. Like every good thing that you taste from a vegetable or fruit, but on steroids, and just to the right amount. The one thing is that it seems to take forever for my little plants to grow. It is satisfying watching the little plants poke out for the first time, and eventually become these sprawling leafy structures with little tomatoes and jalapenos, but part of me just wished it was faster.
But maybe it’s worth the wait. Obviously, if there was a way where I can grow fresh food faster, I would be all over it. But for now, I’ll water my plants, eat my fresh vegetables, and dream of the time I discovered the Michael Jordan of apples.