Next time you pick up an apple, pause a second before biting in to think of the hand that almost certainly held it before yours: the calloused hand of a migrant laborer. As apple picker Jose Martinez told NPR’s Dan Charles, it’s hard to know exactly where a supermarket apple came from — “but 90 percent of them were picked by an immigrant” like Martinez.

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The hand that picked your apple would have held it in a different way than you hold it. You should really listen to the story to hear this in Martinez’s voice, but here’s a taste:

“The most important technique is, you have to learn how to use your hands,” says Jose Martinez, one of the workers. “You should be able to look at a group of apples and decide, OK, I can grab three of these per hand, or two of these. Never just one, though.”

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Martinez, who is especially quick on his ladder, can pick more than seven tons of apples in a day. For that, he earns about $250. If you do the math, that means that when you buy an apple — 30 cents on average — about a half a cent goes to pay the picker.

Martinez’s family rents a small apartment in Adams County, Pa., for the apple harvest — it sounds pretty spartan, in Charles’ description. By November, Martinez and his family will have driven to Florida to pick strawberries, then to Michigan to pick blueberries.

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This radio piece isn’t an indictment of agricultural labor, or an exposé of abuses; it’s just a portrait. That’s valuable in itself, I think. When trying to understand food policy, or attempting to eat thoughtfully, we can use a sense of where our food came from — and a feeling for the people who bring it to us.