Not far from the Keene State College dining commons, there is an apple tree that is currently boasting a bumper crop of fruit. Bushels of apples cluster on limbs high overhead, and buckets of apples cover the ground and sidewalks underneath the tree: some entire, and others crushed. Although I’ve occasionally seen students eating apples while they walk on campus, more commonly they are eating ice cream, chatting on cell phones, or listening to omnipresent iPods. With a dining commons that offers an alluring array of comfort food, the most popular Apples on campus seem to be the laptop kind, not the proverbial Forbidden Fruit.
With so few students eating apples these days–and with a dining commons nearby where students can choose fruit that hasn’t been lying underfoot, crushed or entire–you might worry that this year’s bumper crop of local apples is going to waste, rotting on or under their tree. But as I’ve long suspected, nothing in nature ever goes to waste, there being some campus denizens who don’t have meal plans and thus find their food apart from the dining commons: Keene State’s friendly (and furry) clean-up crew.