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Is it wrong to eat apples while apple picking?

We want to know what apple pickers think on this controversial topic.

Charlotte Brown from New Bedford leaves teeth marks in a huge apple she eats while apple picking at C.N. Smith Farm in East Bridgewater. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

There’s no better way to begin the fall season than picking apples, and with dozens of orchards within an hour’s drive of Boston, people from all over the country are flocking to New England to get their hands on some apples.

It’s peak apple picking season in Massachusetts right now. For many apple pickers, part of the apple picking experience is taking a bite of the fresh, crisp fruit right after it was picked off the tree.

Many apple pickers believe this allows them to taste the apples before they continue to pick them, in order to let them know the flavor profile of the specific type of apple.


However, while eating apples right off the tree while picking them may seem like a fun, harmless and tasty part of the apple picking experience, many apple pickers strongly disagree.

Some may argue apples picked directly off the tree are dirty and must be washed before they are eaten. In a Food Network article, a dietitian nutritionist said “unwashed fruit can have a significant amount of pesticide residue and potentially harmful bacteria,” and eating unwashed apples can increase the risk of contracting bacterial infections such as listeriosis.

Furthermore, others argue eating apples right off the tree while picking them is actually stealing the fruit from the orchard. Since apple orchards typically earn their profit selling the fruit by weight, eating apples right off the tree is considered by many people to be stealing them; as they are being consumed without being paid for. The issue has already been a subject of debate in Upstate New York.

We want to hear your opinion on this controversial topic. Let us know if you believe it is wrong to eat apples that have been picked directly off the tree, or if you believe it is a fun, harmless and tasty part of the experience. Fill out the survey below or send an e-mail to [email protected], and your response may appear in a future article.

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