On the way to kickstarting an industry of apples in the Southeast I have had to consider what an indigenous apple, actually looks like. They say you have to have some idea about where you’re going before you step off so I’ve certainly considered this a bit. I know one thing about it.
No, not the difficulty of the project of building tasty apples from seed, but the actual apple itself has to be tough. It may come to surprise some, but your fruit trees have to stand outside in nice weather, and bad. Just remember this:
You go inside when it rains, its cold, or it there is a hurricane. Fruits must live outside.
This is supremely why I will not use dwarf rootstocks, ever. Nor will I advocate for their use. Isn’t this behavior dangerously close to stealing from future generations? Regardless, plants have to deal with reality, while we deal with abstract ideas, like spreadsheets.
For an actually sustainable and indigenous food system to work life forms must be more adapted to actual earth conditions, than ones modeled on excel. The alternative is a continued race to the bottom, globally.
Today, the Apple’s is Ripe
There has never been a better time for a return of apples growing in the South. There is quite a lot of land throughout the southeast that could immediately be put into apple production today. If people planted apples with similar enthusiasm as they do with crape myrtles the changes in quality of life could be measured as extreme. Yes there are other fruits I am interested in working with on a large scale, but one at a time. (cough: chestnuts, mulberries, honey locusts, others…).
But why spend anytime on the apple?
While others may be interested in figs, apples as a species are just impressive. They have an established record across the genome of having ripe fruit from June through December. Heck, it seems they don’t even seem to mind heat. The real cherry on top is that I believe due to the genetic variability that is often cited as a reason NOT to plant from seed, is actually a strength that gives seedlings the power to out surpasses any use of clonal varieties. Although, we’ll let future tell us which produces with less inputs.
Let’s not forget what the apple can do. The apple can be used as alcohol, vinegar, all the way up to great tasting fruit. Fresh local apples, at any time of the year, is THE 21st century grocery food. I have talked to enough people by now to stake my claim on two facts.
1. Local Fruit is Going to Dominate the Future 2. People Like Apples
Does anybody still believe that humans of tomorrow or going to eat fruit that is half ripened, shipped thousands of miles away, covered in chemicals and has been sitting for a year? Seems reasonable enough to believe that the internet has popped the lid off of that genie.
The worst part about this “extreme” statement is even if you get industrial products fresh they’re still, fruit half ripened, covered in chemicals, and come from thousands of miles away.
I’ll pass for now, and keep working on the apple.
Back to it.