Pat est un ami qui vit au nord du Japon dans la préfecture d’Aomori. Ses beaux parents sont producteurs de pomme. Aomori est très connue pour ses pommes.
Souvent il travaille dans les champs familiaux et connait le sujet…
Sur son Facebook (se prononce: fessebouc) Pat a écrit ce très beau texte sur les producteurs de pomme. Il y décrit tout le travail nécessaire pour faire de délicieuses et belles pommes qui sauront satisfaire une clientèle très exigeante.
Imaginez des champs de pommiers, entourés de montagnes. La région est sauvage et est connue pour ses ours et ses singes. Une grande partie du travail se fait à la main, la mécanisation étant difficile à cause du terrain.
Les belles pommes ne poussent pas toutes seules….
Can we truly appreciate the effort and care that so many people make so that we can leisurely stroll down the aisle in the air-conditioned comfort of favorite grocery store, where staff put on display a cornucopia of foods from so many places, so far and near, so that we can have at our convenience almost any food we desire at any time of year.
Think of the apple, because of it we were banished from the Garden of Eden, we remain forever hungry; humanity has spread itself all over the earth searching for food and also sowing seeds along the way.
And I thought nature did all the work, thinking apples framers simply reaped the harvest in the autumn.
Shamefully my ignorance does not suffer from loneliness. I didn’t know that during winter month’s apple farmers put on snow shoes to allow them to get around their orchards in the cold of winter to trim apple tree branches just right to promote fruit production before buds appear in early spring.
I didn’t know that they needed to bring in helper “rental bees” to pollinate the buds because of shortage of wild bees, and if there are not enough “rental bees”, field workers roam the orchards like full grown pixie fairies sprinkling pollen on the blossoms with their tiny wands.
I didn’t know that with so many buds flowering in spring, workers must manually remove many of the buds; An apple tree goal is to produce as many seeds as possible, let it grow wild and the number of fruit increases but the size of fruit decreases.I didn’t know there was such a shortage of apple field workers; as a result they seldom finish removing buds before the fruit appears, so the work continues during the spring removing some of early fruit.
I didn’t know that during summer months farmers are continuously cutting grass and weeds in order keep the mice population contained, because mice also like apples, and apple tree bark and apple tree roots.
I didn’t know that when fall arrives, it’s paramount that all those apples hiding within tree`s foliage must get a sun tan.
Sunshine is needed in order to get a nice red color. Workers diligently remove leaves to reduce the shade, and if needed, gently rotate each apple so that it ripens evenly. And many farmers carpet their orchards with reflective sheets to ensure nice red apple bottoms.
I didn’t know that when that an inexperienced pickers (like myself) causes a lot of damage while learning.
With the shortage of workers, apples farmers have developed a very high tolerance for incompetence of the inexperienced.
One does not pull the apple of the tree, you must gently roll the apple upward while you apply gentle pressure on the stem so that the apple stem remains attached and not break the branch or scratch the apple in the process.
If an apple is out of reach, try not to be tempted to pull the branch down, because when you let go the branch you might catapult an apple at someone.
One should never work alone, ladder falls and twisted ankles are all too common. One might swear that the trees are alive and there branches move, very time you raise your head quickly, a branch is waiting to meet it.
Lacking experience, ignorantly you think you can work while listening to your favorite music with headphones, but you cannot hear your fellow workers cry if they fall, nor you will hear them scream that a bear is behind you, as bears like apples too!I didn’t know how heavy the apple baskets could get, you hold the basket in one hand while picking with the other.
Each apple must be placed in the basket as gently as if you were would a freshly laid egg. Your basket gets heavy quickly, but don`t drop it, and don’t step on any of the many fallen apples, you might twist your ankle or fall over and break your back.
I didn`t know how cold and wet the Autumn could be when standing outside all day, Apple workers wake up early and work diligently though the day until the last light of day.
I didn’t know that most apple field workers are in late 60s , many in their 70s or 80s and the average age of workers is not getting any younger each year. One has awkward feelings when fellow field workers treat you as child, they are never scolding always mindful of you.
I know now to appreciate the skill and strength with which these humble people diligently performs their work, very much a skilled labor as any other. I know now to respect and admire those elderly workers, who work without complaint, standing on top tall ladders, hauling heavy baskets of apples ever so gently in the cold and wet winds of autumn.
I know now that they do this work not only to earn a living (a very modest one) but more so to share with others a ritual of life which all of our ancestors have done since we humans ceased to be nomadic hunters. It’s during the morning and afternoon breaks that it all sinks in, you all gather together to have a warm drink and some sweat snack to refuel, you chat about nothing but laugh about everything. In these few moments the problems of the world do not exist.
You are together, and that all the really matters. I know now that the shared experience of producing and gathering your harvest is a truly sacred one.
That the people who produce the food we eat are in reality performing one of the most noble acts love for their fellow mankind that one could imagine.
If I look at an apple now, I see so much more