Monday, July 27, 2015

Bad Apples and Moonlit Apples

I'm 'avin' a bit of a grouch again. Apples. They are unrecognisable these days. Oh, they look alright, polished and unblemished, red, gold, green - labelled with variety an' all that, but they don't taste right. Skins tough as leather, flesh tough or hard as iron, flavour - what flavour?

Does anyone else have the same problem?

Once upon a time, long ago and far away, there was a span when I just about lived on apples. I was trying to lose weight, back in my late 20s, early 30s. I loved the easily identifiable apple differences - in shape, scent, flavour, of at least a dozen different English, and some "foreign" varieties. Most were available only at certain times of the year.

I guess I could be thought of as an "apple fancier" in those days. I'd haunt local greengrocer's shops or the Saturday Market looking for a specific variety. But then came supermarkets and things went rapidly downhill on the apple front. I'd still occasionally find a decent French Golden Delicious. South African Goldens were good too, but I boycotted them for a long time, due to the political situation there. Cox's Orange Pippins, possibly England's most popular apple, were still around, but flavour had gradually deteriorated, when not from local orchards. Macintosh Reds would appear once a year, and I'd buy lots of those - great scent they have, or had.

Since arriving in this fair land I could count on one hand the times I've tasted a decent apple, don't think I'd even use all fingers! The problem could be due to the area in which we live. Maybe good apples are still available elsewhere in the USA, nearer to where they are grown. Those arriving in our supermarket have probably been messed with at seed stage, sprayed within an inch of their lives, stored in cool storage, trundled across thousands of miles, before arriving for inspection of shoppers in south-western Oklahoma.

Sigh.

A poem kept trickling though my head earlier and prompted this post. It's a poem a work friend taught me many years ago. We'd start reciting it any time things (or people) on the job began to get tetchy, for some reason it acted as a release valve; before we reached the end of the first verse we'd be falling about laughing.

The poem was written by British poet John Drinkwater (born 1 June 1882).

Moonlit Apples

At the top of the house the apples are laid in rows,
And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those
Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes
A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.

A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches,
and then
There is no sound at the top of the house of men
Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again
Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.

They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;
On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams
Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,
And quiet is the steep stair under.

In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.
And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep
Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep
On moon-washed apples of wonder.

14 comments:

mike said...

I've quit purchasing apples and all "fresh" produce, as they are too expensive and the quality isn't there. Any apples purchased this time of year have been in storage since last fall, unless shipped from down-under: Australia or New Zealand. Heirloom varieties are rarely available. You and anyjazz should plant a tree of your very own! Apple trees grow well in Kansas where I grew-up, so I would think Oklahoma would be the same.

A program I viewed several years ago mentioned that seeds planted from apples typically produce crabapples and not the parent fruit. There were many crabapple trees when I was a kid, but I don't see them that often nowaday. Crabapples are the main ingredient in the old fashioned hard cider.

I attended university in southeastern Washington state and rented an old farmhouse in the country. The property had many assorted fruit trees including an abundance of apple trees. One apple variety would have ripe apples in July, another in August, and several were ready in September, but the best apple variety required a frost for the apples to sweeten and those were ready in mid to late October. I was in heaven!

Sonny G said...


I agree- grocery store apples have no taste.

We get our bushel of
apples up at the Virginia mountains in late august or early September.
Itsonly a 40 min. ride and the scenery makes it a nice trip.. Granted- they aren't pretty but they sure taste good and you can smell them as soon as you get to the fruit stand.
Maybe you could find a local farmer near you.

mike (again) said...

And since you wrote about bad apples:

"Dunkin' Donuts CEO Who Earns $10 Million Claims to Be Outraged by $15 Minimum Wage"
http://www.alternet.org/dunkin-donuts-ceo-who-earns-10-million-claims-be-outraged-15-minimum-wage

Sonny G said...


lets not leave out the baddest apple of them all- Dufus Trump or as Alana would say-- The Dufus~!

Twilight said...

mike ~ (Wow - you were up early!)
It's a bit late for us to consider planting an apple tree, sadly, not only due to our age, but also because the (even more) extreme weather isn't helpful to new and fairly delicate plantings. Maybe in my next life it'll be the first thing I do when able to wield a spade. :-)

I remember crab apples too, back in the UK. Don't remember what they used 'em for there - possibly mixed in with pig-swill (feed for pigs). I don't think they were used in English cider, but I'm no expert on that. Cider was a very popular tipple down in the south-western reaches of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

Re Bad Apple Dunkin' D's CEO - let us hope that karma will await him, either in this, or a future lifetime.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Yes, we really should make an effort to seek out farmers' markets in the area.
Whether there'd be any apples available though, I'm uncertain. Lots of squash, melons, peaches, sweet potatoes, and some tomatoes are mostly what I've seen around here in the past.

El Trump - yep another Bad Apple, but at least he manages to be so darn silly that he can sometimes be good for a laugh; more than can be said for most of his candidate colleagues. :-/

mike (again) said...

Re - Up early...no, I never went to bed! My GiGi has been with front and rear discharges for the past several days, with last night & this morning the worst. Thankfully, from past experience, Pepto Bismol eventually controls the problem, but last night she was not keeping it down. The dose I gave her at 4 AM seems to have done its charm. She's always been a delicate girl, taken from her mother at 3 weeks old and sold as a miniature when she truly wasn't, so I suppose her digestive tract never matured properly. She had this last year at this time, so could be an allergy or something seasonal. I'm not opposed to taking her to her veterinarian, but the doctor prefers I try to get it under control without antibiotics and steroids. If blood is involved, it's an emergency, and the condition is hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, which she's had several times.

Re - The Donald...have you viewed his natal chart?
http://www.astrotheme.com/astrology/Donald_Trump
Natal Sun, Uranus, N Node conjunct, opposing Moon...he was born about three hours prior to a full Moon eclipse. He has Mars in late Leo (sizzling, aggressive showmanship) and transiting Jupiter is currently conjunct (overblown ideologies). Transiting Venus is on his ASC and will retrograde over his Mars, then forward (public appeal). Jupiter will be on his ASC soon accentuating his public appeal. Transiting Saturn is square his ASC and his painful remarks will damage his reputation. I can definitely see how these aspects make him popular with the fringe.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Once again, you and I are thinking along similar lines! Yesterday while we were out food shopping, I actually got kind of depressed because we couldn't find any healthy looking **US-grown, organic** fruit ~ other than blueberries. Not even at our local food coop.

I've been missing my apple (or two) a day and the last batch of oranges we bought were good but not available, neither were peaches.:(

After reading how Whole Foods uses exploited prison labor to grow some of the food it sells, I'm debating about shopping there again. They carry 'locally grown, organic' fruit, including some nice looking apples from Washington, so I'm tempted. It's a tough call right now.

I have a neighborhood friend who grows apples in her backyard. Last night we went to visit and she showed me how sparse the tree is looking because of the drought. My friend is older and kind of frail. Buckets of greywater are too heavy for her to carry these days.

LB said...

Adding how Trader Joe's had a big selection of organic apples. Grown in Chile. No.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Awwww - poor you, and poor wee GiGi. I hope the problem is settling now. It does sound like a reaction to something seasonal - maybe she nibbles something that grows around now and it upsets her...or perhaps something iffy in the water?

I hadn't looked at Trump's chart, but did so just now (at Astrodienst because I can't read Astrothemes as easily)-
http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Trump,_Donald

LOL - if I didn't know whose chart that is, I'd expect to quite like its owner! Your
astro observations are interesting - thanks for them.

I've not not looked at the Republican candidates' charts so far this time around. coincidentally I was looking through some of my Leo-related archives this morning and saw what I'd said about Mike Huckabee in 2007/8 - LOL! I liked him back then - but not his politics of course. I also liked John Huntsman and, very oddly, Rick Perry. Oh dear - there's no hope for me is there? ;-D I'm older and somewhat wiser now - a witty quip and a pretty face no longer are as tempting.

Love to GiGi!

Twilight said...

LB ~ It's a sad affair for sure! I've given up on most fruits. Supermarket peaches are almost as bad as apples. Most never ripen properly and remain hard and chewy, no flavour at all. I have occasionally found an odd decent one - once a season perhaps. Pears are a better bet than apples here, but even they are tasteless compared to those of a decade or more ago. We buy just one lot of strawberries per season, maybe an apricot or two, and that's it, apart from a few bananas or grapes, which have remained fairly okay, so far.

The exploitation of fruit pickers is something I try not to think about, but realise it's another injustice continuing in the shadows.

LB said...

We looked around again today and still couldn't find any (fresh) organic fruit grown here in the US, not even at Whole Foods (other than blueberries and cherries, that is). Normally the apples grown here have been crisp and tasty.

Maybe we'll see them again in a month or two. Pears sound good too.:)

R J Adams said...

"Does anyone else have the same problem?" YES! Mrs Adams and I eat lots of apples, but frankly even the 'organic' varieties we buy at the Co-op here are quite tasteless, and as you rightly comment, hard-skinned. As for the supermarkets, I wouldn't trust their produce not to slowly poison me with all the chemicals used. But don't they LOOK wonderful! And all the exact same size. A miracle of modern technology - if all you want is good looks.
It's not just apples, am I the only one who gets rotten, blighted, potatoes? Russets especially - they make nice chips (fries) but I need three large ones for Saturday dinner (herbed chicken, British chips, and salad) and I have to buy four because one is bound to be rotten on the inside. Reds are better, but full of eyes and a bugger to peel because they're so knobbly. Oh, for some nice King Edwards! I'm hoping French apples and potatoes will be an improvement.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Oh I'm sure it'll be a huge improvement in France, RJ! They wouldn't stand for the crap offered to us here.

We have the potato problem too - I like a baked potato sometimes, but we have to throw away at least a third of those we buy. Same with Acorn squash - only it's more like half of them turn out bad - once cut in half the flaws are revealed, but the outsides look perfect. Butternut squash are usually more reliable though. Husband cooks the squash in the m/wave then stuffs the halves with pasta and cheese sauce - when the squash is a good one it's a tasty and reasonably priced meal. :-)