The History Of Apples

April 28, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Rowan Jacobsen took a look at the history of the apple:

  • Each apple tree is different. The seeds that turn into a tree are a combination of the father’s and mother’s genes, and produce a brand new type of apple. Most aren’t that great.
  • But when a new tree does produce good apples, the only way to get more of that type of apple is by cloning it through a graft of one of its shoots.
  • Therefore every Granny Smith apple is produced from a direct clone of a tree that first grew in 1868.
  • America used to have thousands of strains of apples each unique in its own way, but the rise of industrialized farming led to most people settling on just a few different types of apples.
  • America’s prohibition is also partly to blame for the decline in diversity of apples. Some of them made excellent ciders but died out when alcohol was banned.
  • Nowadays new strains of apples are protected by intellectual property rights that restrict how they can be grown, and require a licensing fee for each apple that is produced.

Read more about the man who’s trying to identify, catalogue, and revive America’s various apples, what different apples such as Wolf River and Harrison looked like, and what the hunt for an apple is like over here.

Source: Mother Jones