If it’s green-green, leave it hang


These are familiar colors, but when you’re picking apples for a living these colors become your guide to the ripening fruit you’re about to oh-so-gently roll off the spur. We all love reddish apples. In the case of 95 degree days and d.r.y. weather, we look to the background color of apples and have to disregard the reddish blush everyone is used to seeing.

If you think that there are unskilled labor jobs out there…think again. Any job you do takes a certain amount of skill. Like for instance, if you man-handle these apples you will leave bruises from the inside joints of your fingers. You better handle with care while doing this job, or you won’t be asked back the next day. Regarding skills, being comfortable at the tip-top of an eight-foot ladder with 35 pounds of apples hanging from your side, allows you to fit right in with this apple-picking bunch. Ladder work is only for the able-balancer, especially when the wind is blowing. I am glad to know that even the younger pluckers are sore after a day up on the ladder reaching and stretching the muscles in the backs of their legs.

Apple picking does have its perks. We are excellent taste-testers. Jonamac happens to be a favorite. It’s sweet enough to eat, but just tart enough to bake into apple crisp. There’s nothing like the smell of the kitchen when all that cinnamon is heating up and mixing with the butter and sugar. October and all those smells just go together.

We learn all kinds of things doing seasonal jobs. It takes 18 bushels of apples to fill up a bin. I can pick a half bushel of apples every six minutes when we’re stripping the trees. And did you know that when the weather is hot when cell division is going on then the apples will be big?

Me either.