“I know what you’re trying to do, Annie, and I’m not going for it,” joked LJ.
Annie laughed and gazed at LJ with a loving look. She held out her hand and offered him a perfect Gala apple.
“Sweetheart, I am not Eve, and as you know, apples are good for you because they contain two kinds of pectin fiber; soluble, which helps reduce heart disease, and insoluble that supports normal digestion. Not to mention they are an excellent source of vitamin C, quercetin (anti-inflammatory), and potassium. Apples with their high fiber and low-calorie content makes them a weight-loss-friendly food. Besides, it is traditional for the creator of a bountiful orchard to eat the first apple picked from it, so here it is.”
“Oh! Well, in that case, thanks.” LJ bit into the apple and thoughtfully munched.
Annie and the other harvesters waited for the verdict. As they paused, several Starlings and Robins flew overhead in the crystal blue sky, searching for an opportunity to snag apples. She looked up and smiled; the birds helped keep insect pests under control during the growing season and were the clean-up crew for damaged and leftover fruit after the harvest, helping prevent disease and assisting in nutrient rotation.
“This apple is delicious. It has just the right amount of crispness and juice with a fresh sweet taste. These Galas will go well in salads. Therefore, based on my assessment, this orchard is ready for harvesting!” declared LJ.
The crew spread out, some staying in the grove where the tree branches were heavy with bright red Galas.
The others walked on to the distant orchards. As they crested the hill, they were met with a floral aroma and a spectacular vista of rolling hills covered in apple trees. The fruit in their glorious fall colors were beautiful.
“I see the Honey Crisp trees,” said Annie.
“How can you tell so far away?” asked Lisa.
“Two ways; the first is their distinct yellowish-green and red color when they are ripe, and the second is the crabapple trees that are interspersed because Honey Crisp apples are not self-fruiting; therefore, you must plant a different variety for cross-pollination to occur. Their sweet-tart taste is a result of crossing Macoun and Honeygold apples to create the Honeycrisp. An average size one is 52 calories, 14 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of fiber.
Beyond the first orchard was the Golden Delicious grove. The bright yellow fruit looked like hundreds of miniature suns. There are 72 calories and 19 carbs in a medium-sized Golden Delicious. Its mellow flavor and firm, smooth texture makes it perfect for baking.
Next were the Fujis. LJ pointed to the orchard, “These apples have such an interesting history. Growers in Fujisaki Aomori, Japan, crossbred two American classics, the Red Delicious and the Virginia Ralls Genet, and voila, they created the Fuji. Their color ranges from light pink to crimson. They are the sweetest of all apples. That, combined with their juiciness, makes them extremely popular and suitable for baking, grilling, and apple sauce. An average of Fuji is about 121 calories, 29 carbs, and 4 grams of fiber.”
“Finally, the Granny Smiths,” exclaimed Annie as they approached the last orchard. “They are my absolute favorite for so many good reasons. They are lower in sugar and carbs and have more fiber, iron, potassium, protein, vitamin K and twice as much vitamin A than red apples. Granny Smiths’ have 13 times more phytonutrients (disease prevention) than other apples. A medium Granny is 97 calories, 23 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of fiber. They are perfect for snacking, baking, and smoothies.”
The sun was setting as the last apple was picked. Annie and LJ were tired but happy.
“Aren’t you happy you took a bite of the apple LJ?”
“I am. After all, in the words of Michael Pollan: If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not hungry. I was hungry.