A quick story for you. During harvest last year, there was serious weather that caused a frost just when Starr Ranch Growers were gearing up for their apple harvest. The problem was that if they didn't get the apples picked immediately, then the whole crop would be lost and destroyed by the early frost. A year's worth of work would literally fall off the vine, or should I say limbs, and be lost. The community of growers couldn't let this happen, however, and they and their friends and families literally all rallied together to eagerly and quickly walk the orchard rows, carefully plucking by hand each apple off the tree so that the early frost sent by Mother Nature herself wouldn't swallow them all with a single gust. Were all the apples were saved? Not at all, but some were – and those were the apples that were in our stores across the USA. Simply due to the fact that everyone rallied and came together.
This shows the passion, the sense of community, and the dedication these farmers and this company has to growing these apples – and that's what I love about Starr Ranch Growers. Not only are they great apples, but they are great people who bring those apples to us all. And for this, I am grateful.
Let's dig into what it's like to actually be growing apples, and let's talk specifically about growing organic apples, which is even harder than growing conventional apples. Organic apple growing takes even more care, more daily supervision, and even more laser-focused attention to the nitty gritty details. While not easy, organic farming has been at the forefront of Starr Ranch Growers' apple growing, and they’re leading the way on what it means to produce a healthy organic fruit, and an apple is one of the healthiest fruits in the world, by the way!
Everyone knows that “an apple a day helps keep the doctor away,” although now those apples when grown organically are not only healthy for you, but even more healthy for the Earth. What makes these farmers so passionate is not only growing delicious, good for you apples, but it's the fact that they're making the world a better place. They feel passionate about actually improving the earth and soil, one apple tree at a time. When you choose a Starr Ranch Growers’ organic apple, it's as if you are right alongside with them – helping the earth by reducing pollution, keeping soil and water sources clean, and reducing the impact on our planet’s ecosystems.
I had the pleasure to visit Starr Ranch Growers' apple orchards and walk the land with a couple of the organic growers and organic apple experts. They were tending to their organic apple orchards, explaining to me how the whole system works so intrinsically, yet so delicately. Their vulnerable dependence on Mother Earth is real, as she is the beating heart of this symbiotic process. Whether she's blowing cold winds at the wrong time, or bringing in rains when it's inopportune, she will affect how these apple trees grow and whether they will meet their full potential, allowing them to produce these juicy, delicious and flavorful apples naturally.
Without the use of pesticides or chemicals that growers are often dependent on. The soil is rich, fertile and situated so beautifully in the mountains of Washington that it is prime for giving these fruits the nutrients and climate that they need to flourish. There's a reason that their apples are so mouth-watering, and as close to perfection as an apple can be.
So without the control that pesticides provide the grower over a crop, how do they keep it healthy? It's difficult, as pest control is a real problem – for all farmers yet especially the organic growers. Bugs can undermine the stall the best intentions of any farmer, but not all bugs are dangerous or considered bad. For example, I got to hear how this one particular superhero bug saves the day, and the crops! It's the beautiful and awe-inspiring ladybug - and its very existence is helping these orchards stay healthy and fruitful, no pun intended!
During my visit, I learned about the heart that these growers have when it comes to nature, especially when they feel the responsibility of taking care of it. They are not only caring for these orchards, they are caring for the world around them. I welcome you to watch thesevideos about what it takes to grow organic apples. I learned so much in my few days there, and in only two minutes, you also can become a little more enlightened as to what these Starr Ranch Growers go through to bring those organic apples to the stores near us. So the next time you are considering these beautiful apples from Starr Ranch Growers, realize that growing each of those Organic apples took a lot of effort, patience, expertise and heart.
I hope you’ll join me in supporting some of the most passionate growers in the USA, and get a little more healthy while doing so! Look for them at your local grocery stores, in packages like these!
Thank you for being awesome growers.