Organic apples often don’t cost more and in fact often cost less than many so-called ‘healthy products’ sold in our shops today. The price of a kilo of typical organic apples is around £2.90 and if you compare this with a snack-type product such as Nutri-grain Bars which retail at around £8.90 a kilo then you can see which is the best to buy both from a price and wholesomeness value. Nor have these fresh fruits been processed or had anything bad added to them on their way to being served in your home. Using Nutri-grain Bars as an example again, they contain about 50 ingredients and the presence of fruit is a small amount of fruit puree concentrate in the filling. Oh dear!
Organic apples may look the same as an ordinarily grown apple but they are different on the inside. An ordinary apple can contain anything up to 48 different kinds of pesticides. Washing or wiping an apple on the outside, cannot eliminate what has already formed on its inside. Non-organic apples are the number 1 most heavily sprayed fruit during their growth.
A typical year in the life of an ordinary apple can involve the following spraying treatments:
Copper fungicide, chlorpyrifos (Dursban), acaricide, eradicant mildew fungicide, fenoxycarb (Insegar), post blossom insecticide, captan, carbendazim, diflubenzuron (Dimilin), chlorpyrifos (Dursban etc), methoxyfenozide (Runner), indoxacarb (Steward), clofentezine (Apollo).
Many, if not all, of these sprays or insecticide treatments are known to be harmful to humans. Try Googling a few to see for yourself!
It’s worth noting that a typical programme of fungicide sprays for scab control starts at the bud-swell stage of the apple blossom and the further spray intervals depend on susceptibility of apple variety but can continue through the formation of the fruitlets, after which it is continued only if necessary but can be right up to the pre-harvest stage. Basically, this particular spray can be carried out may times during the formation of the apples.
Organic apple growers, on the other hand, firstly choose varieties that are more likely to withstand pests and diseases. They use sophisticated electronic weather devices that fetch data which is then fed through a computer to predict scab conditions. The trees are treated using sulphur or good old soap and water. Red clover may be planted between rows to provide a habitat for predatory insects and pollinating bumblebees, along with a trickle irrigation for even growth. Pheromone mating disruption systems are used to control the major caterpillar pest, Codling Moth. Overall, the care of organic apples is very labour intensive as soil preparation to provide the trees with the nutrients needed to combat disease naturally, plus constant vigilance to spot the first signs of anything untoward, are the keys to success.
Hence, the higher price. However, having read the above, is it therefore better to pay slightly more for an organic apple? Wouldn’t you rather feed your family a tasty, healthy fruit that maybe costs a little more than a chemically treated one that is doing heaven knows what to your body?
Here’s another suggestion, particularly for those who enjoy gardening and growing fresh food. Why not have a go at growing your own organic apple tree? There are also varieties available that can be raised in pots.
Perhaps you’d like to read more on the history of apples and their health benefits: Institute of Food Research – Apples
Hopefully, you may survey those perfectly presented and polished supermarket apples with a different light and now head for the organic varieties on sale!
Click here for organic apple products