“Yet, as the modern apple’s story suggests, domestication can be overdone, the human quest to control nature’s wilderness can go too far. To domesticate another species is to bring it under culture’s roof, but when people rely on too few genes for too long, a plant loses its ability to get along on its own.”
John Chapman—AKA Johnny Appleseed—may be more of a fairy tale f*ck than history has led us to believe. Michael Pollan alludes to this in his decade-old work: The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World. Johnny was probably more of a migrant seizer of opportunity rather than the pot-headed mythicized charmer with a fetish for apples he’s been made out to be. And all that’s besides the point. A load of wash you need not be hassled with.
The interesting point—that maybe bagging up brand name apples is no different than perfecting the human race via a computer checklist module prior to giving the big stem-celled push. Blonde hair, blue eyes, athletic, and disease-free. Sounds odd when compared to apples, but only if you disregard the truth. The truth that ‘Apple Jacks’ are probably an inappropriately named children’s cereal and that the seeds of a gala actually don’t grow up to be full-bloomin’ galas themselves. None of them do. Gala, fuji, granny smith, red delicious, golden delicious, pink lady, and the list only grows—slowly that is, because finding a fine-tasting apple is more near to the odds of winning big in the lotto, and pays just as well, if not better.
Michael smashes the window through which our perspective zombily stares, writing that in order for the original gala to be grown elsewhere, on other farms, on different continents, and sold in your local grocery store, it’s tree needed to be grafted onto another tree. As you read on, you learn that apple seeds, more often than not, churn out crab-apple-like trees, bushes, and other unseen and unheard of manifestations of this Adam and Eve forbidden crunch. The very fruit for which we’ve developed an ingrained scorn.
And maybe this is why we’ve become so dependent on pesticides, drowning in the tides of evolution, but only because mommy’s kept us tethered to the shore. And maybe this is evidence enough that modern farming, whether it’s organic or not, is at odds of being considered a worthwhile venture.
Arsenic is touted as the prepackaged poison hidden within our thin-skinned amigos, but maybe domestication is a poison in of itself. The real poison. Our desire for the consistent sweet taste has led to manipulation and an eventual abandonment for the entirely manufactured variety.
Bite on, but do so warily…