Monday, September 13, 2010

California Apples

A few weeks back, I had a shoot with the California Apple Commission to photograph apple packing facilities in the Central Valley during the peak of the gala and Fuji apple harvest.

I know, I know. California produces apples? Indeed we do, as I got the opportunity to see at a couple of apple packing plants in the Central Valley near Stockton. I always find such processing facilities fascinating, and the ones we visited on this shoot were no different.

Here are some images from the shoot.

Gala apples being sorted

Sized gala apples floating toward their next destination.

Sized gala apples floating toward their next destination.

A sea of gala apples.

Apple boxes stacked in an enormous cold storage facility. It was refreshingly cool in there.

After shooting the interior of the busy packing facilities, we took a few boxes of apples to make some beauty shots with. I set up my speedlights in a corner of the kitchen and we arranged some apples on their cardboard trays. It was quick set up, quick shoot, quick tear down, but I think the results were excellent and show off the color and texture of our local apples.

Fresh organic gala apples

More galas

An especially nice gala

Fuji apples, ready to ship

Postscript: The day after this shoot, I went into Trader Joe's in Chico and noticed that they were selling gala and Fuji apples from Chile and New Zealand. I was very unhappy and disappointed. First, because Trader Joe's positions themselves as a 'green' company, with their reusable shopping bags and granola-crunching clientèle. And second, obviously, because we were harvesting California grown gala and Fuji apples less than a hundred miles away.

They could have been selling fresh-picked, locally grown (and even organic) apples instead of apples that were harvested last February, stored for six months and then shipped halfway around the planet. Those Chilean and New Zealand apples weren't fresh, environmentally sustainable, or economically responsible (given how the US and California economies are struggling).

I wish that retailers and consumers would be more aware of where our food comes from and would focus more on buying locally. Here in California, the fate of the agricultural economy is the fate of the state's economy.

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