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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Autumn Windfall: An Apple Adventure

The apple-a fruit so ubiquitous in American culture that we hardly think twice about its presence. Its most familiar incarnation is as an over-shined monotone orb, mechanically placed alongside lunch to fulfill one serving of fruit in the arbitrarily-defined food pyramid. The iconic apple sitting on a teacher's desk is devoid of the variety and vivacity that should be associated with these morsels of autumnal bounty.
Autumn Windfall: An Apple Adventure

Mediocre apples are available year-round, but one cannot begin to know their true nature without experiencing the explosion of colors, textures and flavors that occurs every fall.

But without wandering nostalgically through an apple orchard plucking the swollen spheres from loaded trees, how can we take part in the seasonal coming of the apple?

Well, as a functioning member of a busy and technological society, I went to the supermarket. Whole Food, Safeway and Trader Joe's-the three major food markets within walking distance of Georgetown-are now displaying the apple in its multifarious glory.

I took the trek to Whole Foods on a Sunday night to witness this spectacle first-hand. I found the produce section dominated by buckets, totes, trays and tables filled with apples of all shapes, colors and sizes. In addition to the requisite Galas, Granny Smiths and Fujis, Whole Foods enthusiastically brought my attention to a number of local varieties from farms near D.C. In fact, each mound of apples had a label informing me of the state or city of its origin-happily the local ones were the cheapest. I floated through the displays picking one beautiful fruit after another, my spirits rising with each acquisition. The prices ranged from $1.69 to $2.99 per pound, but the best deals by far were the tote bags filled with local apples selling for 99 cents per pound. Local. Cheap. Abundant. Score.

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