A subscriber wrote to ask: “So Uncle Vern, the list says these apples are called ‘Red Delicious,’ but everyone knows Red Delicious apples are a lot bigger, they have big shoulders up by the stem, and then a long nose down to the blossom end. Also, Red Delicious apples usually taste one click better than cardboard but these are really good, they’re my new fav; fess-up, what’s goin on here?”
Well nephew, this is how Red Delicious used to taste back in the day, and because of this flavor and color, they became America’s favorite apple. But people buy produce with their eyes and will pay more for a larger apple. Progressive farmers use a plant growth regulator (PGR) that elongates the cells in the apple. Those really long Red Delicious apples you’re used to have the same number of cells as these in your box, those cells have just been stretched which gives ‘em that longer nose. It also dilutes the flavor and weakens the texture. It’s like taking a good wine and adding 50% water.
Anyway, Vince and Bonnie, your apple farmers over in Watsonville resurrected this Red Delicious patch which had been abandoned for eight seasons, and you are enjoying the results. If you’re enjoying the apples, take a minute and make their day by letting them know.
The Clear Lake pears of course are grown on 100 year old trees, and the cold nights up there make the best Bartletts anywhere on the planet. Let ‘em get to your perfect maturity on your kitchen counter and enjoy what’s made Clear Lake famous for over a century.
Experience. There’s an old saying that ‘when a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with the experience leaves with the money, and the man with the money leaves with the experience.’
There’s a newer saying that ‘you can’t Google experience.’ That isn’t true actually, because I tried it and you can get several definitions from Google, but funny thing, there were no ads at the top. In other words, while experience is one of the most valuable possessions anyone can have, apparently either no one is willing to pay to get it or no one has figured out how to bottle and sell it.
Wisdom really can only be accrued through real world experience. The young guy asked the old guy how he got so wise? “Don’t make many mistakes” was the reply. How’d you learn that? “Made a lotta mistakes!”
So successful farming is all about surviving enough experiences to know what to do in the crisis du jour. Wet, dry, early, late, hail, frost, low prices, no workers, bureaucrats who don’t know which end of the shovel moves dirt but want to tell you how to farm…
Stay at it long enough and you won’t be surprised by any of it, but you’ll never be truly able to say “Now I’ve seen everything;” and it’s that sense of wonder and expectation that keeps life evergreen.
I think what the tuition paid for experience really yields is the conviction that while life’s always been and always will be difficult, the expectant faith and persistent diligence that brought us through so much in the past will key open a door to today’s challenge as well, and I just can’t wait to experience today’s solution to the impossible.