The Humble Apple

Craig McCord

Craig McCord › Craig possesses 23 guitars and cannot play any of them. He likes fresh grilled sardines with a ...


David Tanis has written a very rich and wonderful article in the New York Times. It’s a short piece at only 383 words, but Mr. Tanis manages to amass a lot of technical information as well as some personal reflection about the humble apple.

Here’s a great example of what I mean:

People don’t usually wax poetic about the humble apple, I know. But a visit to farmer friends in Northern California on that particular warm, clear and strikingly still night left a deep impression. Although they had prepared the guest room for me, sleeping outdoors seemed a far better option. It would be six months before the apples were ready to eat, but I didn’t mind. Because just to be in that orchard was magical. And because new-crop apples are worth the wait.

Maybe it’s just me, but that made me want to sleep outdoors in an orchard!

This time of year apples are seemingly everywhere and it’s easy to take them for granted, but let’s don’t! What delicious little red, yellow and green packages we have right in front of us. The egg folks tell us the egg is the ‘perfect food.’ I would humbly nominate the apple for that label. What do you think?

People don’t usually wax poetic about the humble apple, I know.

Apples and their culture, biology, and the myths that surround them are, at the risk of repeating myself, rich and wonderful.

Michael Pollan (as usual) writes something strong and incisive. This is from his Botany of Desire:

High in the hills of Kazakhstan, where the ancestors of malus domestica trees first began experimenting with the shape and color of their fruit, you can find an astounding variety of examples of what the apple could have been, from large purplish softballs to knobby green clusters. But through its countless journeys over the Silk Road many thousands of years ago, carried by generations of wayfarers, the apple adapted to meet the needs of its traveling companions, evolving to become a portable, durable conduit for sweetness.

Who can resist reading on about the humble apple with a paragraph like that?

And who can resist perfectly displayed, expertly grown apples? Why resist?

The last word goes to Mr. Tanis:

If you long for the thrill of new-crop apples, head to a farmers’ market, a farm stand or an honest-to-goodness apple tree on a cool day. What you will find is firm, dense fruit, some with the leaves still attached. When you take your first bite into the crisp flesh, the sweet juices fairly drip upon the tongue, not at all like the apples you recall. Smack your lips and swoon.


Are you a fan of apples? What’s you favorite way to eat your apples?

Photo credit: Staci Strauss