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Learning at its Best

How You Like Them Apples?

I recently read an article about apples that won’t go brown when sliced or bruised. Apparently there is a big demand for this and goes beyond the occasional “lemon juice failed to keep my apples crisp-looking” for my fruit salad issue. No, it’s a really big deal. Folks won’t eat apples when served on a tray at a party or in a meeting. (I’m sure it has nothing to do with apples competing against guacamole, chips or candy.) Indeed, the obesity epidemic in our nation is due almost entirely to the fact that brown apple slices are just gross.

A Manufactured Crisis?

I’m not sure I agree with this statement. I’ve never heard someone say, “You know, I was going to eat an apple, but my God, that’s way too much food. I mean, am I looking for a buffet here? No, I just want to nibble on some fruit.”

Nor have I heard someone say, “I was going to eat an apple, but there’s simply not enough time. I’ll have to skip working out, taking a shower and getting laundry done, because apples . . . well, they’re a whole-day ordeal.”

In an age of 64 ounce fountain drinks (that’s roughly two liters, for my Canadian friends) and massive meal deals, I’m thinking an apple is probably not in the category of too much food.

I’m starting to wonder if maybe it’s the start of a new manufactured crisis. What if the normal, ordinary, natural apples become “inferior” because they don’t pass the brown-free test? Right now the metrics for apples tend to be taste, texture, crispness (is that a word?). Some day, though, the test will be how long it stays pretty. After all, that’s about the only objective way to measure a good apple. Add some great consumer marketing and I’m thinking Fuji and Gala apples will be a thing of the past.

A Better Solution

I may be in the minority here, but I am not all that frustrated with apples turning slightly brown. I’m more bothered by the Red Delicious apples that are neither red nor delicious. Maybe it’s time we start focussing on making those apples tasty again.

Or maybe it’s time we focus on getting more local apples. Perhaps it’s time we switch from obsessing over the perfect brown-free apple and start thinking about how we can access fruit grown locally. Maybe we could even find a way to get apples, real apples, not Red Delicious, into the hands of low-income neighborhoods and schools.

Maybe it’s time we ask apple-eaters what they prefer or maybe farmers rather than agri-business. corporate executives. 

 photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photo pincc


About John Spencer

I teach. I write. I live. I want to do all three authentically.


4 thoughts on “How You Like Them Apples?

  1. What would happen if apples were placed by the candy bars at the check-out stands? If consumers buy by impulse, would they be more likely to grab an apple from the checkout than from the produce aisle? What if they came with a single serving of peanut butter?

    I eat lots of apples – I love the Asian fujis. But they spoil – so I have to keep buying them. A 2-pound bag of mini-candy bars last forever :).

    Posted by Janet Abercrombie | July 19, 2012, 6:48 pm
  2. Apples judged solely based on only one criterion – browning of them. Kind of like student learning or teacher effectiveness based on only one criterion – standardized test scores …

    Posted by John Bennett | July 19, 2012, 9:08 pm

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