Imagine waking up every morning and looking out onto orchards. From the front door you see cherries that flower in pink in the spring, and from either side of the house you can see apple orchards that look like this in the late summer and fall–ripe with sweetness.
Last weekend we were invited across the state to a harvest party and a tour of an apple orchard. I was having too much fun at the Harvest Party to take photos, but we enjoyed a hay ride, pumpkin carving, treasure hunt, and lots and lots of good food–donuts, white chili, cider, etc. . .
We stayed over through Monday, so that we could tour the Roossinck Apple Orchards. (scroll down a bit to see the Roossinck family. http://belleharvest.com/index.php/about_us/our_growers) It just so happens that my great-grandma grew up in these apple orchards. This is my Great Uncle John, and he gave me a mini history lesson on the orchard. This family has been farming for over 100 years.
Skip down two generations and meet my cousin Eric.
Skip down one more generation and meet two cousins that are getting to know each other. The cutie pa-tootie on the left belongs to Eric and his wife Liz, and the cutie pa-tootie on the right still belongs to me–until a prandsome hence comes alongs and heals her start. And them I become the mugly step-other.
Let’s meet our tour guide–Liz. See that chart on the wall behind us?
Liz explained the science and nutrition of this chart. It appears that our government has decided to change the food pyramid which my generation had printed in all their Health books. Remember this Food Pyramid?
Well it is obsolete now. It is old news. It is out of style. (Sounds like me!)
After much study-a-tion of the “An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away” Scientific Research, the Apple Growers of America have come up with a New and Improved Food Pyramid which is below.
At least I think that is what Liz said. I sometimes get a fact or two turned around. It’s called a Mommi-brain.
Let’s start the tour out in one of the orchards. Workers hand-pick all the apples.
Here you can see a tree before and after picking.
Then the worker gently drops the bottom of his basket and sets the apples in the crate–very g e n t l y and s l o w l y.
This husband and wife team can pick 18 plus crates in a day!!
This worker picks negative 2 apples a day. He works for the Quality Control Department.
Eric took a break and showed us the High Density Orchard where apples are grown on a trellis.
I wanted to hear all the interesting details about how these new and improved trees “harvest light”, but unfortunately a cutie-pa-tootie had to go potty, and the potty wasn’t too close, so I missed most of this segment of the tour. But I’m not too worried, I think we will be back next year.
The apples in the crates are then either stored . . .
or taken to the packing area. I read that 50% of American apples are consumed fresh, and 50% are processed into juice, apple sauce, pie filling, etc. . . http://www.fowlerfarms.com/apple_facts.htm
Apples float as 25% of their volume is air. The packers utilize this by gently floating the apples out of the large wooden crate–minimizing bruising. (The mirror on the wall behind Tom gives you a peek at the floating apples. Hi Tom!)
After the apples are on a conveyor belt, they are pre-sorted, washed, waxed, then sorted again.
and sorted again.
and sorted again.
and again. There are so many conveyor belts going every which way. They sort by size, color, shape, use, and political preference. . .the left-wing apples going to the east side of the state and the right-wing apples staying on the west side of the state. Apple growers take their apple sorting very seriously.
They take their sorting so seriously, that they actually use a machine to photograph the apples to identify if they are Republican apples or Democrat apples or Ralph Nadar apples. The Ralph Nadar apple boxes are always seat belted before being transported. The apple growers are very conscientious that way. The arrow shows this amazing machine. Presidential candidates are trying to use it on voters.
Once the sorting is finished, some of the apples are bagged.
A scale makes sure that you get the correct amount of apples in your bag.
And these Michigan Apples are headed to a store near you!
Our tour ended by making home-made cider in an old cider press.
But our last stop of the day was dinner at the farmhouse. If you ever get a chance to stop by Roossinck Fruit Storage and Orchards, you are lucky. But if you ever get a personal invite to stay for lunch, then you will be blessed. Thanks a lot everyone.
And they all lived appely ever have-ter.
P.S. This sticker says, “Golden Delicious”, and I agree.
P.S.S. The author is not to be held responsible for the opinions and statements presented in this article. It is a well-known fact that Mommi-hood releases toxins in the brain that distort hearing and vision. This fact can be proven by the common occurence of a child saying, “Mommi, mommi, mooooooooomi, MOMmi, MOOMI,” many times before the Mother responds. It is also exhibited in the fact that every Mother thinks that her cutie pa-tootie is the cutest cutie pa-tooie in the whole wide world. For all other questions push “5” and stay on the line for your state representative to help you.