The History Of Apples

Courtesy of  Richard Apple

The first trees to produce sweet, flavorful apples similar to those we enjoy today, were located many thousands of years ago near the modern city of Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan.

The Greeks were growing several varieties of apples by the late 300’s BC, and the ancient Romans also grew and loved the fruit.  Researchers have even found the charred remains of apples at a Stone Age village in Switzerland.

European settlers brought apple seeds and trees with them to the New World. Records from the Massachusetts Bay Company indicate that apples were being grown in New England as early as 1630.  In 1796, in Ontario, Canada, John McIntosh discovered a variety of apple which is today enjoyed by people around the world--the McIntosh Apple!

Apples have also appeared in legends in our past.  In the Bible, Adam and Eve are tempted by apples in the Garden of Eden, and in the Swiss story of William Tell, an archer is arrested and then promised his freedom if he can shoot an apple off his son’s head with an arrow.

Americans have a favorite story about a pioneer apple farmer named John Chapman, from Leominster, Massachusetts.  Chapman, now known to many as "Johnny Appleseed", became famous in the 1800’s when he distributed apple seeds and trees to settlers in the American states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.  Legend claims that Appleseed traveled barefoot wearing old torn clothes and a tin pot for a hat!  Johnny Appleseed is celebrated in American folklore as a symbol of the westward-moving expansion of the European settlers.

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