Did you know that apples were a favorite food for both the ancient Greeks and Romans? The apple tree originated in an area between the Caspian and Black Sea, and The Lady or “Api” apple is considered to be the oldest variety in existence. The pilgrims in the Massachusetts Bay Colony planted the first apple trees in The New World. In colonial times, the apple was known as a “winter banana” or “melt-in-the mouth.” The first apples to be exported from America in 1768 were the “Newton Pippin” variety, and some were sent to Benjamin Franklin during his sojourn in London. The very first American nursery was opened in 1730 in Flushing, New York.
There are approximately 10,000 different kinds of apple varieties with more than 7,000 grown in the United States alone. Apples belong to the rose family of plants and the blossoms are much like wild-rose blossoms. They come in all shades of reds, greens and yellows and the science of apple growing is called pomology. It is believed that Peter Stuyvesant planted America’s oldest apple in his Manhattan orchard, and it was still bearing fruit when a derailed train struck it in 1866!
So the next time you bite into an apple, take a moment to think about its very formidable history. Better yet, just eat it, enjoy it and then think about all that later.