Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shooting Apples

I’ve just come back from a quick but intense video shoot in Vermont. My friend and I are putting together a short project for a non-profit organization called Red Tomato. They help farmers find better distribution outlets and encourage them to use more beneficial ecological growing methods. We spent a wonderful day at Sunrise Orchards, with a great family of apple growers. They work unbelievably hard, with boundless love and enthusiasm for what they produce and for the land.

I was stressed out and nervous to be leaving my mom, my daughter, my old ailing dog and my two gimpy horses while my husband was also out of town. Luckily, my sister-in-law stayed here to help me out. The horses were on their best behavior. She loved taking care of them. So, even though I got home after midnight yesterday, everything was calm and happy here.

Being in the apple orchards was really soothing. There was a sense of the majesty of the horizon, with the mountains in the distance and the incredibly vivid fall colors of the trees. It gave me that same kind of combination grounding and freedom that I feel when I’m out west in New Mexico or the desert.

I ate an insane number of apples - at least a dozen, with a wide and exotic range of flavors. The Hodges, who have three generations of family living on the farm, all said that they never get tired of eating apples. I can understand because I was delighted to come home with a big bag of many varieties and exerted a lot of will power to only eat three Honey Crisps today.

It was interesting to learn that the Red Delicious is the most popular apple in this country. It’s probably the only one that I didn’t like. I think that even the best Red Delicious tastes kind of like a potato, and it’s really sad that most children in the United States associate that flavor as “apple”. I see it as a metaphor for what has become misguidedly important - and what’s wrong- with so many other things in America - It’s valued for its beauty, rejected if it’s blemished, thick skinned and lacking flavor. Still, it’s the one that is held up as the favorite.

I didn’t take many still photos because I was so busy shooting apples on videotape. Luckily, I managed to snap one of my new best friend, a great Golden Retriever named Junior - who is one apple lovin’ dog.


Karen said...

Victoria, I so agreee with your opinion of Red Delicious apples! Give me a Cortland right off the tree any day. Granny Smiths are right up there too, in my favorites. I grew up having a friend whose family owned (still do) an apple orchard, so I ate my share of apples wether they were ripe or not!
Glad your family managed without you.

Grey Horse Matters said...

The video sounds like a great project. I'm so glad to hear that everything went well at home and that in the future you can leave for a day and not worry about everyone.
Only three Honey Crisps! They are my favorites I would have eaten more. You're right about the red delicious too, not my favorite either.

Pony Girl said...

Oh, Honey Crisps are the best!! They are pricey, though. Red Delicious are not my faves, either. In fact, I always buy them for my horse, LOL, because they are the cheapest, usually.
Now I am craving apples dipped in caramel sauce. A fall favorite!
Love Junior, I used to dogsit the cutest Golden named Jake! Goldens are all love!

Rising Rainbow said...

There are so many varities of apples now, I can hardly keep track. I can go to the store and get overwhelmed just trying to make a choice. I think when I was a kid there were about three.

LJB said...

One of my regular shopping spots this time of year is the local apple stand. Last fall I froze lots of apples so I would never have to consider buying chain store apples. Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, gave me the good idea to bake apples and freeze them -- easy desserts the rest of the year.

Locally the Honey Crisps are finished. They ARE delicious!

Were you in the Putney area?

Glad life at home went smoothly while you were away.

billie said...

We just got some nearly black apples from our local farmers' market yesterday. They are very hard and very crunchy, with a subtle flavor that is really nice. I need to find out the name.

At our old house we had Fuji and Granny Smith trees. It would be so nice now to pick the apples and share them with the horses, but I can barely keep my head above water as it is!

Glad your trip was soothing and that things at home stayed calm.

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jodi said...

Ah, apples. I don't care much for Honeycrisp until midwinter, but I am glad that farmers get top dollar for them. Like you, I don't much like Red Delicious, but I LOVE Golden Delicious, as well as JOnagold, Spigold, Gala, Spartan, Cortland...and NOT Macintosh, another very popular (but very overrated) apple.
Mmmm. I just ate a Gala, but now I feel the need for another one. Is there anything any better than fresh apples?
Fresh pears. Mmmmmm.

Le Cheval Endiablé said...

It's good to use more beneficial ecological growing methods.
Here also, many try to. It's better for the health.
It's funny to meet a dog who likes apples. Does he like them for eating or for playing as if it were a ball?
Here we have various kinds of apples too. I like Golden when they were yellow when they have been removed from the tree. Sometimes they are taken when they are still green and so they contain less sugar and flavour.
Fortunately, there are a few apple trees around here and we can buy good Golden.

M. C. Valada said...

I'm a big fan of Fuji apples, a variety I never heard of before I moved to California. I no longer even bother with Red Delicious apples. There's a spectacular apple I had in New Mexico, but I can't remember the name. When I go out there next month, I'll have to have Melinda stock up.

Sounds like a fun shoot. I so miss doing them.