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How many recipes can you make using apples as an ingredient? Apple sauce, apple pie, apple crumble… when I was a child on an apple farm in the Western Cape where my father worked for the farmer, there were weeks in every year when we got sick of apples.

In season, boxes of apples not fit for sale or export would turn up outside our kitchen door. Then the fight was on to use them before that sickening smell of rot began to rise…

I grew up on farms producing apples, plums, and grapes destined for the KWV. In high school, the little bus that served farms in our area dropped us off on the dirt road between our house and the nearest vineyard; in late summer, I would take my suitcase and sit between the rows of vines, eating sun-sweetened grapes for my lunch as I did my homework.

I watched big juicy plums roll down a conveyer belt, the first lap of a journey to the grocery shops in Europe. I was there when the boar was brought to the sow; no artificial insemination here, and a lesson in the huffy-puffy-snorty realities of reproduction which ended with busy little pink bodies tumbling next to their enormous mom.

I learnt how cows were milked and how to separate the white liquid to begin making cheese. I saw green aromatic shoots push through the soil in a neighbour’s field, eventually to be pulled as brown-sheathed onions.

Agri Northern Cape

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