Apples: From Farm to Table
Do you ever wonder how all those beautiful apples you see at the grocery stores are grown? It all starts from the apple tree and the process takes from winter until fall.
This is a sponsored post. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with the Ontario Apple Growers and Nature’s Bounty Farm to bring you this information. Though monetary compensation was received, all opinions are my own.
The Apple Cycle:
During the winter, the trees are in a resting state, which allows them to reserve energy for the seasons to come. Pruning also happens during the winter months to balance the next season’s crop and maintain the tree’s shape.
In the spring, the apple trees flower and pollination occurs. This is the process of transferring pollen from the plant’s male reproductive organs to its female reproductive organs to form seeds. This is usually done by bees and is how the fruit starts to grow from the blossoms.
Summer is the growing season. Farmers work hard to make sure the apple trees are happy and healthy. They will thin the tree if too many apples are growing on it. They will also make sure to keep pests and diseases away so that the apples grow into their full potential.
The fall season is harvest time! Every apple is picked by hand or mechanized harvesting platforms. Great care is taken so the apples don’t get bruised or damaged. Once picking is done, the trees shed their leaves and enter the resting stage again and start preparing themselves for the next season.
Storing and Packing:
After the apples are picked, they get sorted and go one of two places – the packing line and off to the grocery stores, or to a controlled atmosphere (CA) storage room.
How CA storage works: As apples ripen and age, they convert starches into sugars by taking in oxygen and giving off carbon dioxide. In a CA room, the oxygen levels are dropped to such a low level that it prevents the conversion and essentially puts the apples into a dormant stage. Apples stored in CA can last up to a year. It’s not until the apples are ready to be shipped that the room is opened and the fruit is awakened and the conversion starts again.
The final step before the apples arrive at your store is the packing line. Apples enter the packing line via a water channel and get sorted to remove the bad apples, washed, dried, waxed, and sorted again by grade. Once the apples pass the final stage, they get packed by hand or automation into bags or bulk bins and onto a truck to the grocery stores.
And that’s pretty much how we get fresh, delicious, and nutritious apples all year round. So when you buy apples in the winter, spring, or summer they are just as good as the ones you buy in the fall.
Apple recipes to try:
- Homemade Apple Pie
- Easy Apple Crisp
- Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- Apple Mango Salsa
- Toffee Apple Pecan Crumble Pie
Click here for all apple recipes.
All images are courtesy of the Ontario Apple Growers.