How Our Washington Apples Are Grown

Washington Apples 2012How Our Washington Apples Are Grown

The apples we’re offering this year are grown by an orchard that used to be certified organic. In 2006, they dropped the certification but continue to grow their fruit organically. They use compost, fish oil, lime sulfur, mating disturbance, and lady bugs to strengthen the trees and keep down the pesky bug population.
One thing you may notice about the apples is they may have a fine coating of chalky dust on them. (It’s kind of like diatomaceous earth, if you’re familiar with that.) The orchard sprays this chalk on the apples to serve three purposes.
1. The chalk reflects UV rays and keeps the apples from getting sunburned.
2. It adds calcium to the apples. When a fruit tree is producing fruit, it’s similar to a woman carrying a baby. The growing baby draws so much calcium from the mother, she can end up with tooth problems from calcium loss if she isn’t careful. It’s the same with apple trees, and this calcium rich chalk spray adds calcium to the growing fruit and prevents “bitter pit” in the apples.
3. The coddling moth is a common orchard pest in Washington. But when the female attempts to lay her eggs on an apple that’s coated with chalk, the chalk hurts her belly – like diatomaceous earth – and she can’t lay her eggs successfully there, thus diminishing the population of coddling moths in that orchard.

The rain may have washed this coating off by the time we get the fruit, but if you do notice chalk on your apples or pears, just rinse it off and enjoy the fact that your fruit has been grown with special care!