Fruits and vegetables in abundance! I hope you have been able to enjoy some of the amazing fruits and vegetables that we grow in Chatham-Kent. Speaking of fruits, we are now well into the apple season.
Apples have existed as a wild fruit since prehistoric times and have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years. The ancient Greeks, Etruscans, Romans and Egyptians were among early cultivators.
During the California Gold Rush, apples sometimes fetched more than $100 a bushel because of their versatility, durability and capacity to be preserved by drying.
There are approximately 7,500 varieties of apples in almost every corner of the globe. In fact, you could eat a different apple every day for more than 19 years, and never eat the same kind twice!
Apples are a healthy eating choice, extremely high in pectin (a soluble fiber) and are packed with flavonoids (compounds which give the colourful pigment to fruits and vegetables). Latest health-related apple research indicates that apples may reduce the risk of neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and high cholesterol, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
An average apple has 70 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, 10 per cent of the daily requirements for fiber, eight per cent of your daily Vitamin C needs, and two per cent of your daily iron requirements.
About 50 per cent of the apples grown in Ontario are marketed as fresh apples. Three-quarters of these are marketed through apple packers who distribute the product to grocery stores. The rest are sold through direct sales to stores, farmers’ markets, and roadside stands.
The other half of the Ontario apple crop is used for processing, with 90 per cent of the apples made into apple juice. Other processing uses are applesauce, pie fillings and apple cider.
The Ontario Apple Growers (www.onapples.com) represent Ontario apple farmers with 10 acres of orchard or more and in 2016, have approximately 230 members.
Close to 20 different varieties of apples are grown on 16,000 acres in Ontario. The province’s major apple-producing areas are along the shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.
The farm gate value of the Ontario apple crop is approximately $85 million, which includes sales to fresh and processing markets and farmers’ markets.
The top five varieties in Ontario, based on acreage planted, are McIntosh, Empire, Northern Spy, Red Delicious and Gala.
Eating an apple 15 minutes before your biggest meal will help you feel full, as the apple is filled with fibre and water. As a result you will likely eat less, which is a good thing for most of us.
When making baked goods which calls for the use of oil, substitute half the oil with applesauce. There will be fewer calories and no difference in taste.
Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity also recommends a daily intake of five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables. Did you know that one serving of fruit equals one medium sized apple?
Take a drive and buy some fresh Ontario apples from one of Chatham-Kent’s apple orchards. Make a few apple pies, enjoy a glass of apple juice or apple cider, or make some delicious apple crisp. Whatever it is, this fruit is apple-icious.
Think about this – The measure of love is what one is willing to give up for it. Jesus gave up his very life for you.
Just some food for thought.
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘WE GROW FOR THE WORLD’! Check out our community’s agricultural website at:www.wegrowfortheworld.com