October is National Apple Month, celebrating a fruit that has been a part of the human experience since the beginning of human history. Most historians believe the apple originated in the Dzungarian Alps, a mountain range separating Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China, where wild apple trees still produce tiny fruit far smaller than the world’s favorite tree fruit of today.
A tablet found in Mesopotamia dating to 1300 B.C. records the sale of an apple orchard; the price: three prized breeder sheep. In Greek history tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage. Catching it was acceptance. Caesar’s legions carried apple seeds and planted orchards to supplement the native crabapples they found growing wild. Soon the apple tree had spread as far north as the Rhine Valley in Germany.
In the 1600s apples made their way to North America but crabapples had preceded them. Not being very edible, the colonists requested seeds and cuttings from England. A Massachuse...
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