Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's Apple Season in Midelt, the province so proud of its apples that it built this lovely fountain in the center of town:

The month of the year when everyone is employed full-time, and when literally every time I leave my house I come home laden with the sweetest, juiciest apples I've ever eaten, freshly picked from one of the village's orchards. I eat at least four or five apples a day and still acquire them much faster than I'll ever be able to consume them.

I find the apple trade here fascinating - it's well known that the richest people in the area (after the corrupt politicians) are the apple farmers, many of whom have orchards with thousands or tens of thousands of trees. An orchard right outside of my village has 45,000 trees and brings in over a million dollars a year in apple sales. Every morning during picking season, they send trucks out into the surrounding villages at 5am to load up hundreds of workers who then pick apples all day, taking precisely-timed breaks, and then drop them all off in the afternoon, "Grapes of Wrath" style. The richest farmers also build giant refrigerators to store the apples and sell them throughout the year as prices rise.

The perfect, happiest time to be spending my last month in Morocco.