EPISODE 2: The Mystery of the “Green” Apple – SOLVED?

In search of the truth, Special Agents William Neal and Patrick Cuccaro explore the mysterious Green world of sustainable special events and catering. What myths will they shatter? What will they uncover?


The Truth is out there…so we’re told.



In Episode 1, William and Patrick posed the question, “Which is best—an apple grown organically or one grown locally?


DEAR SPECIAL AGENTS: For the last two weeks, you’ve been sharing ways to make better choices about living a sustainable lifestyle. Ideally, everything that my family eats would be local and organic, but that’s not always possible—sometimes I have to choose between one or the other. Can you help? – SIGNED: Confused-but-Committed-in-Atlanta


WILLIAM: Confused, you have asked a fantastic question, and we’re going to give it our best shot today.


There is absolutely NO doubt, I’m a sucker for a farmers market or roadside stand.  Maybe it’s the chef in me, or it might be my love of gardening, but when I drive by a stand loaded with beautiful produce, I just have to pull over.


Grant Park Farmers Market - Freewheel Farm


I get such a kick out of watching my kids eat samples of the fruits and vegetables we discover on our trips. I can see their wheels turning—it’s here where they start to understand that food isn’t something that comes flash-frozen out of the mega-mart freezer.


I get really excited when schools use gardening in their lesson plans. It’s a commonsense way to ensure healthy food and eating habits for generations to come.


And the taste! There’s nothing like biting into a fresh apple that was picked just yesterday in the North Georgia Mountains. It might not be organic, but when it comes to flavor, I’d pit it against any organic apple that has to make its way to us from California, no matter how great the pedigree.


PATRICK: And that, Confused and William, is at the core, pardon the pun, of this puzzling question of “local versus organic.” Do the health benefits of an organically grown apple outweigh the flavor of a freshly picked one? Does taste trump health?


My answer is that health always trumps taste. I have memorized the Dirty Dozen—the 12 vegetables and fruits that typically have the highest pesticide residue—and I always try to purchase them organically grown. As for the rest of the Non-Dirties, if I can’t find them grown both locally AND organically, then I have to know my local farmers. If they practice healthy, sustainable farming methods, that’s what I’ll buy hands down. If not, I go organic.


On a side note, there’s an app for The Dirty Dozen.


By the way, Agent Neal, those apples that your kids sampled at the roadside stand…if they’re not organic and you don’t know anything about that farmer, they’re probably on the Dirty Dozen list!


WILLIAM: So lemme get this right. Rather than eat a non-organic local apple, you’d choose an organic Pink Lady apple that was grown in Western Australia, loaded onto a container, hauled to a ship, floated across the ocean, hoisted onto a truck, and driven across the United States to a distribution center that then dropped it off at a grocery store 21 days later? You’re really telling me that’s better than snatching one up from a roadside stand that was picked four hours ago?


PATRICK: Ah, well, since ya put it that way…I think maybe we need to talk more about “food miles”.


WILLIAM: That traveling apple story wore me out. Next week, Patrick, there will be no stats. Next week we have some fun…Let’s talk about sexy apples and DATE NIGHT!


To be continued…



Do you have any favorite local farmers that you trust with your family’s health and nutrition? Please, share your favorite(s) with us in below comments section.


Join us next week when Special Agents­­­­ Patrick Cuccaro and William Neal investigate the burning question: Can Green be Sexy?


This week’s 3Rs…


What is Revealed?


REVEALED: Riverview Farms





What is Revered?


REVERED: Captain Planet Foundation





What is Reviled?


REVILED: Grocery Store Shelf Space





Special Agent
Patrick Cuccaro
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Special Agent Patrick Cuccaro possesses an analytical mind and keen intellect. As Past Chair of the Georgia Restaurant Association (2012)—representing more than 4,000 restaurants and 100,000 employees—he casts a studied eye towards one of the country’s largest creators of waste—the food industry. Armed with a vision for…[more]

Special Agent
William Neal
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Agent William Neal is a hardened professional in the culinary industry. Well…maybe not hardened, since his favorite quip is “Never trust a skinny chef!” Agent Neal has held some interesting posts throughout his career. Starting as a chef, he became a…[more]

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