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A little less than a happy high
Harvest Rites
The New England autumn brings with it an urge to return, however briefly, to our agrarian roots. Nothing too fancy, mind you. It's not like we suddenly run out, pick up scythes and bring in fields of barley. Our activities are neither as strenuous or involved. We go apple picking.

I got to thinking about this last Sunday when I joined Pablo and his kin for a trip to North Andover with apple-picking in mind. True to form, the orchard was attached to a working farm, and in addition to being able to wander through the very picked over apple trees, there was a pumpkin patch to browse, a tractor ride around the grounds, and animals to gawk at. Don't get me wrong, i think it's a fine way to spend a day, but there is something peculiar about it, perhaps even absurd. Suburban families who throw their milk away if its still in their fridge the day it expires and think that chickens come pre-packaged as neat breast filets suddenly feel the urge to pick their own fruit and give food pellets to llamas.

For young couples as yet unfettered unblessed with children, Apple picking is viewed as "romantic". I used to think that maybe there was some pastoral appeal hardwired into our consciousness, but that itself may be a romantic notion. Lately, I've been wondering whether it's just a means of easing us into nesting impulses, a kind of elder "playing house" that is just unstructured and non-committal enough to still feel like fun.

This is about where you tell me that I think too much.
6 comments or Leave a comment
margimello From: margimello Date: October 19th, 2004 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like ur icon.

"My spoon is too big!"

I never understood the appeal of picking your own fruit until I found out that you only pay for the stuff you take out. So you can eat like a cartfull of strawberries before you even leave. It's also a lot of fun to throw rotten fruit at your sibling and try to blame it on gravity.

Word to the wise, don't eat a cartfull of strawberries. It will make you very very sick.
komos From: komos Date: October 19th, 2004 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I won't say that it's not fun, just that I think it's kind of odd that it's been relegated to an "activity" for most people.

The crazy thing about eating what you can while you're on site is that unless you're at one of the rare farms that doesn't use pesticides or chemical fertilizers, you're kind of asking to be sick if you don't wash the fruit. It's just a little scary that the notion of eating fruit from the tree is itself a romantic notion.

Of course, I still do it, and I'm honestly surprised I didn't get sick from the cartload of apples I ate while I was there
apeyanne From: apeyanne Date: October 19th, 2004 05:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
komos From: komos Date: October 20th, 2004 07:40 am (UTC) (Link)
wildflowersoul From: wildflowersoul Date: October 20th, 2004 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Suburban families who throw their milk away if its still in their fridge the day it expires

Hey! I do that. I have a fear of smelling milk that's gone bad, *shiver* ugh, the thought of it ooogs me out. But I've taken to buying ultra-pasteurized organic milk, so now we use it up way before the expiration date.
komos From: komos Date: October 20th, 2004 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not faulting you. I just find it interesting that impulses like these can be paired with an annual desire to witness the places where food (in theory at least) comes from.

Mentioning the ultra-pasteurized milk got me thinking... The places that we visit tend to be pretty well sanitized by the time we get to them. An orchard with a tractor ride and a handful of animals to gawk at is really a far cry from a Colorado feed lot or a Purdue chicken plant.
6 comments or Leave a comment