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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BEHOLD! the humble apple

(Imagine the intro music from 2001 A Space Odyssey here)

The origins of the apple are much disputed, but many historians tell us that the ancient Romans began the breeding and cultivation of what we now know as the apple as early as 3300 years ago in 1300 BC. Historically, the apple has been touted as everything from the fall of man from God's grace (Adam & Eve) to the denture wearer's greatest nemesis in the old Dentu-cream commercials. Today we know it to contain flavonoids, antioxidants that improve immune function and prevent heart disease and some cancers. It is also high in fiber and other things that promote health. Apples were one of Hippocrates' favorite remedies.

In the US, the northwestern region produces as many as 35 million bushels a year of this tasty fruit*. Recently, President Obama grabbed four apples at a Philadelphia market and gave the salesman a dollar. Recognizing the error, Obama personal aide Reggie Love quickly stepped in with some more money for the fruit seller, who had just been ripped off by the leader of the free world**. I don't think this was a major faux pas; after all, why would anyone assume a much higher price, when apples are in-season and usually go for 69 cents a pound and up?

Yesterday, I was in HY-V market and when I passed a bin of apples, the one in the picture above called to me in that siren voice I hear sometimes, "Buy me. I am delicious and photogenic." So, I bagged it and thought about how I'd do the shot. F-values and shutter speeds, lighting values and placement running through my head, I wandered up to the register, where I found that this apple was about $2 ($3.79 a lb.), the same per-lb. price as the nectarine that cried out to me with a similar plea. These are not organic or any other unreal modernistic marketing claptrap - they're just plain ol' fruit! Really Hy-V? At minimum wage, someone has to work an hour to buy 3 regular apples in your market?

Here's a shot of the $3.79 per-lb. nectarine. Like the apple above, it has no magical properties, it didn't improve my love life and certainly didn't improve my financial outlook. They were yummy as all git out, but would surely have tasted better at 1/4th the price, I am sure. Henry David Thoreau once wrote, "It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man." I have never found him to be much wrong before, and his record holds true here too.


*Thanks to: for reference material.
**Quoted from:

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