Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


America’s favorite apple, the Red Delicious, was first harvested in Iowa in 1874. Back then, Iowa was one of the country’s top apple growers. But if you live in Des Moines today, your apples probably come from Washington state, the source of more than half of the country’s crop. But there are a few important differences between a typical Red Delicious from an Iowa farm and its globe-trotting cousin from the Northwest.

 

IOWA RED DELICIOUS

WASHINGTON RED DELICIOUS

Average Distance From Farm To Shelf

61 miles

1,722 miles

Additional Packaging

Put into bags or boxes for shipping

Coated with carnauba wax or shellac to preserve freshness; “Washington apple” sticker applied; put into bags or boxes for shipping

Earliest On-Shelf Date

Within 2 days of harvest

Within 1 week of harvest

Cold Storage

May be refrigerated for up to 2 months

May be kept in sealed, reduced-oxygen, controlled-atmosphere storage for up to 8 months

Harvest

September to October

September to October

Availability

No later than mid-December

Year-round

Transportation Impact

Shipping a pound of Washington apples to Iowa requires 30 times more fuel and releases 30 times more CO2 than shipping a pound of Iowa apples to a local market.

Sources: Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Washington State Apple Commission

THE END...

of our annual funding cycle is fast approaching, on June 30, and we have a considerable $230,000-plus gap in our online fundraising budget.

If you value the nonprofit journalism you get from Mother Jones, and you can, right now is an important time to help us keep charging hard with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation.

payment methods

THE END...

of our annual funding cycle is fast approaching, on June 30, and we have a considerable $230,000-plus gap in our online fundraising budget.

If you value the nonprofit journalism you get from Mother Jones, and you can, right now is an important time to help us keep charging hard with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate