Eat an Apple: Appreciate Every Bite and Appreciate Life
It was author and poet Aldous Huxley who once noted how “most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” It’s fair to say these words are true for the majority of us. Whether it’s our family, our health or a simple apple, we often take things for granted. The apple, for example, is not to be taken for granted. Yes, we know the apple is delicious. But where did it come from? Who grew it and how long did it take? Who picked it off the tree and who put it on the shelf? Understanding these questions regarding a simple apple can be the first step in learning to appreciate it more. The apple from seed to shelf is a true story of hard work, love, and adventure. I’m confident that after reading, your “infinite capacity for taking things for granted” will be diminished, and you will never again take an apple for granted.
From Seed to Shelf
Nobody knows more about apples than the shoeless, cooking-pot-wearing, Johnny Appleseed (actually born John Chapman). I’m sure even he wasn’t aware of the more than 7,500 different known varieties of apples are grown also across the world from New Zealand to New York. Seeds are chosen depending on the region and it’s temperature. The process of planting and growing an apple tree is nothing like the Ronco Rotisserie cooker that allows you to simply “set it, and forget it.” From the time a tree is planted to the time it produces anything edible is about 3 years, with 7 more years for maximum yield. These years are filled with all types of work including mulching, fertilizing, pruning, cutting, trimming and much more. Once the apples are ripe, they are picked by hand. Ripe apples are then sent to a warehouse (or distribution center) where they are prepped and sorted onto palettes for shipment. In order to prepare them for delivery from the warehouse, a great deal of individuals and countless hours of labor are needed. To give you an idea, here are just some of the job titles and descriptions you will find in the warehouse:
Similarly, there are even more people required make sure each of these labor-intensive jobs is done efficiently and correctly. Some of these jobs include:
▪ Facilities and Housekeeping
▪ Inventory Manager
▪ Quality Assurance Inspector
At this stage, the apple is still only half way from the tree, and half way to your mouth. Now that the apples have been planted, grown, picked, inspected, separated, and loaded, they are finally ready for shipment to the store. A refrigerated truck, train, or ship is used to transport loads of apples. Once they reach the grocery store, they are received and stocked in the produce section. It is here where the apple can finally relax and wait to one day be picked up by you!
But wait! There's more...
The amount of manpower, time, and care involved in planting, picking, and preparing apples is obvious. But consider the natural resources also involved in the process: the wood used in making the palettes, and the electricity used in the warehouse, and the oil used to fuel the trucks etc. Of course, that is not all that’s involved: think about rancher who sold the farmer manure for fertilizer, the mechanic who fixed the broken forklift in the warehouse, and the drug dealer who sold the truck driver the cocaine so he could stay awake for the 24 hour drive from Connecticut to California. All of these factors and more play a role in ensuring what started as a seed, eventually ends up as an apple in your fruit bowl.
Learning to appreciation through awareness
Is your head spinning? Mine is too. By now, you might be asking, “what’s your point guy? I mean, I like apples, but I still prefer oranges.” The point is one of awareness. Whether it's the smell of fresh flowers, the feeling of your feet in the sand, or what's involved in tasting a juicy apple: when we are strongly aware of things around us in a given moment, we are less likely to take them for granted. Starting with apples, learning to appreciate the little things in life can be easy. The next time you eat an apple, slow down and enjoy each bite...to the core.
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