What can you learn from a fruit sticker?

(Previously: Planting smart)

beeritual said: ‘I wish American labels were as thorough.’


Though you can’t get all the information about where your fruit is grown this way, the stickers on your fruit do often have something called a PLU (Price Look-Up) code, which is administered by the International Federation for Produce Standards, an affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association.

These codes tell you two things. First of all:

  • a 4-digit PLU code starting with 3 or 4 (3xxx or 4xxx) means the fruit is  conventionally-grown
  • a 5-digit PLU code starting with 9 (9xxxx) means the fruit is  organically-grown

Secondly, you can look up those numbers and find the cultivar; a conventionally-grown Gala apple is #4129, a Honeycrisp is #3283.

Theoretically, 5-digit codes that start with an 8 should indicate GM crops, although I doubt suppliers will put that information out there given the consumer pushback against GM foods.

In any case, you actually have a lot of information on that sticker:

3107 is a medium conventionally-grown Navel orange.

4014 is a small conventionally-grown Valencia orange, apparently restricted to items grown in Eastern North America.

Just look up the code of the fruit from which you are looking to plant seeds, and you will at very least have the species and cultivar, which is as good a place as any to start finding out if it will grow in your biome.

You can even use the sticker as a plant label, to remember which fruits you planted seeds from. Coupled with some sleuthing about the supplier, perhaps you can find out what the climate is like where the fruit was grown.

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haha even if you haven’t been to Burnside you can tell this is insane. if you’ve been there… well, then you know 👊🏼

DIY Inspiration:2 Doable and Unique DIYs for Products No Longer Made.

Top Photo: Sew White Bobbin and Needle Necklace (not available). You can find the original on the WayBack Machine here. Get an “inspired look” using shrink plastic, polymer clay or even a thread spool and tapestry needle (just blunt the pointy side!).

Bottom Photo: Sereni-Tea Tea Bag Rest. “sereni-tea n. the absence of stress while drinking tea”. Make out of air dry clay, stamp or write quote and seal. Or write/stamp the quote on a decorative tea cup saucer - you can pick up super cheap ones at a thrift store. For this image I tried way too long to find the original source using my own tutorial, 5 Easy Steps to Finding the Original Source, and couldn’t find it - so frustrating and rare. If you know the original source, please email me.

D.I.Y. Infused Olive Oils

Lemon Olive Oil

What You’ll Need

  1. ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. peel of 1 lemon

Directions:
1. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
2. Fully take out the lemon peel, removing as much of the pith as possible.
3. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the oil and lemon peel.
4. Let it simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. The oil just needs to be warm, not cooked.
5. Strain out the lemon peels and pour the oil into a glass container. (Optional: Add lemon peels to the container because it looks cute and helps differentiate between your other oils.)

Herbed Olive Oil

What You’ll Need

  1. 1 bunch mixed herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme)
  2. ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. Wash and fully dry the herbs.

2. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine herbs and olive oil.

3. Let it simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes until warm.

4. Strain out the herbs and pour into a glass container. (Optional: Add sprig of herbs to the jar).

5. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

More infused olive oil how-tos here.

2

Planting Smart

I write about planting fruit trees from seed fairly often, and mostly, I’m not even talking about buying seeds: I’m talking about planting seeds you normally throw away.

There’s a lot of talk about how it’s such a “gamble” to do this at home, given that you only know the characteristics of one of the parent plants (via the fruit), and not the polleniser.

There are some ways, however, to take smarter risks when tree planting this way; they involve learning the three things you can learn about the seed in question:

  • What is the species?
  • What is the cultivar?
  • What is the provenance? (ie. where was it grown?)

The species is something you can learn by either searching the name of the fruit, or, in the case of a fruit like a ‘plum’ where the common name refers to several species, by working backwards from the cultivar.

Cultivars are almost always available on commercial packaging, and in a ‘farm-to-table’ or farmer’s market situation, they are a mere phone call away.

Provenance is information you are usually entitled to know at the point of sale by trade law.

With these three pieces of information, you can suss out the relative likelihood of the tree in question succeeding in your biome, just throught doing a little bit of reading on each of the three topics.

I’m much more likely, for example, to plant the seeds of a Danish-grown ‘Meritare’ European Plum, than the seeds of a Japanese-American Hybrid plum grown in Spain (both pictured above).

It’s not that I won’t try the latter, but I will definitely invest more in the former. In this way, I have some security that I will produce a larger number of productive trees.