Quantcast

From Field to Fork: How Do Apples Grow?

Food

The U.S. is the second largest producer of apples in the world, and Americans eat more apples than any other fruit except bananas. Red Delicious and Grannysmith are ubiquitous in the U.S. And Honeycrisp, Pink Lady and Jonagold, among many others, are having their moment. So you might think that these sweet apple varieties are native to North America, but actually, before the Europeans arrived, one could only find sour crab apples on the continent.

In the latest episode of How Does It Grow?, a first-of-its-kind food education series that shares the stories of our food from field to fork, host Nicole Jolly offers up many interesting facts about the 7,500 varieties of apples that are grown in the world.

Jolly takes us to Middlefield, Connecticut, home to one of the oldest apple orchards in the country, to teach us about apples. The Lyman Family has owned this orchard since 1741. They bought the land directly from King George. Today, the ninth generation of Lyman's operates this 100-acre orchard. That's 27,500 trees growing 30 varieties of apples. The lifespan of an apple tree can be as short as 20 years and as long as 100.

Growing apples is not as easy as you might think. Because each apple seed is genetically unique, a Honeycrisp apple seed, for example, will not produce Honeycrisp apples. This is a problem for farmers trying to grow a specific variety of apple. So, growers use a technique called grafting, whereby they take a bud from the variety of apple they want to grow and insert it into the stock of a young apple tree to ensure that they get the variety they want.

Jolly also talks about the importance of pruning, cross-pollination, bees, culling and integrated pest management. The harvest begins in early August with the earliest varieties and finishes in late October. Harvesting is labor-intensive and every year a crew comes—some have been coming for 20 years—from Jamaica to harvest the Lyman's apples. Some of the harvested apples go into low-oxygen storage, which "kind of puts the apples to sleep, so that they are available to eat the whole year round," says Jolly. Apples are a nutritious and versatile food. But, Jolly cautions, almost all of the vitamins and fiber are in the peel, "so put down those peelers!"

The episode was made in partnership with Red Tomato, a nonprofit that works to deliver fresh, great tasting produce while cultivating a more sustainable, ethical food system.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

14 Superfood Salad Greens More Nutritious Than Kale

Cranberries: One of the World’s Most Powerful Antioxidants

Farmers Do What to Keep Cauliflower White?

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Brown bear fishing for salmon in creek at Pavlof Harbor in Tongass National Forest, Alaska. Wolfgang Kaehler / LightRocket / Getty Images

The Trump administration has moved one step closer to opening Earth's largest intact temperate rainforest to logging.

Read More Show Less
The Democratic primary candidates take the stage during Tuesday's debate. SAUL LOEB / AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday night, the Democratic presidential candidates gathered for what The Guardian said was the largest primary debate in U.S. history, and they weren't asked a single question about the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A. Battenburg / Technical University of Munich

By Sarah Kennedy

Algae in a pond may look flimsy. But scientists are using algae to develop industrial-strength material that's as hard as steel but only a fraction of the weight.



Read More Show Less
Variety of fermented food korean traditional kimchi cabbage and radish salad. white and red sauerkraut in ceramic plates over grey spotted background. Natasha Breen / REDA&CO / Universal Images Group / Getty Image

By Anne Danahy, MS, RDN

Even if you've never taken probiotics, you've probably heard of them.

These supplements provide numerous benefits because they contain live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, which support the healthy bacteria in your gut (1, 2, 3, 4).

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Singapore will become the first country in the world to place a ban on advertisements for carbonated drinks and juices with high sugar contents, its health ministry announced last week. The law is intended to curb sugar consumption since the country has some of the world's highest diabetes rates per capita, as Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

A typical adult takes around 20,000 breaths per day. If you live in a megacity like Beijing, with many of those lungfuls you're likely to inhale a noxious mixture of chemicals and pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Fred Stone holds his brown swiss cow Lida Rose at his Arundel dairy farm on March 18 after a press conference where he spoke about PFAS chemical contamination in his fields. Gregory Rec / Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

By Susan Cosier

First there was Fred Stone, the third-generation dairy farmer in Maine who discovered that the milk from his cows contained harmful chemicals. Then came Art Schaap, a second-generation dairy farmer in New Mexico, who had to dump 15,000 gallons of contaminated milk a day.

Read More Show Less
Protesters attend the 32nd annual Fur-Free Friday demonstration on Nov. 23, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Ella DeGea / Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that that bans the sale and manufacture of fur products in the state. The fur ban, which he signed into law on Saturday, prohibits Californians from selling or making clothing, shoes or handbags with fur starting in 2023, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less