It’s apple season, and over at Slate, the magazine’s usually spot-on financial writer Daniel Gross has turned in a controversial (!) piece about U-pick apple farms. He’s against them.

Apple picking is a cherished rite of fall, a wholesome and fun family outing, a throwback to a simpler time when people weren’t so disconnected from the production of their sustenance. I look forward to it every year. It’s also a wasteful scam.

But read further and you find he thinks it’s wasteful for the same reason that SUVs and McMansions are: overconsumption. His view is that people pick 20 pounds of apples (at about the same cost as supermarket ones) with the intention of making sauce or pies and then let them rot on the counter because there’s no time in our busy world for those types of activities.

Luckily, Gross is given an education by posters like MsZilla in the Fray, Slate’s comments forum.

Perhaps he should have come to my local U-pick farm, where there’s no petting zoo (oh all right, so there is a pumpkin slingshot), but the pie cherries got completely picked out in three days by rabid bakers trying to get their cherries before the small window of opportunity closed. You don’t have to be a back-to-the-lander to throw a bunch of apples in a pot and cook them for 20 minutes to make applesauce. Hell, you don’t even have to peel them.

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