October 20th, 2011 by

By Michelle Werts

Red Delicious apples at Hartland Farm and Orchard in Markham, Virginia

One of my all-time favorite fall activities is apple picking. I just love going out to the orchards, filling up my basket, drinking hot cider and then using the freshly picked apples to make lots of sinful desserts — my waistline is not as big of a fan. This year’s extravaganza was extra special because I was able to introduce my cousins, apple-picking newbies that they are, to the joys of fall in Virginia. We picked more apples than we could hope to eat and found pumpkins bigger than our heads — and almost bigger entirely than my one-year-old cousin! Good times were had by all, but because I never do anything without over-thinking it, I realized that not only is apple picking a good time, it’s good blogging fodder.

So with that, I present some fun apple facts … at least I think they’re fun!

Apply History Stateside From the U.S. Apple Association
(http://www.usapple.org/index.php)

  • The only apple native to the United States is the sour crab apple.
  • The first apple orchard was planted in Boston by William Blackstone in the 1620s.
  • More than 100 apple varieties are grown commercially in the U.S., but more than 2,500 varieties grow wildly and 7,500 varieties grow around the world.
  • Golden Delicious apples, my personal favorite, were discovered in Clay County, West Virginia, in 1890. Their genealogy is unknown, but experts think the Golden Reinette and Grimes Golden are the proud parents of these yummy apples.

Apple Production in the U.S. According to the USDA (http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/nass/NoncFruiNu//2010s/2011/NoncFruiNu-01-21-2011.pdf)

  • Almost 9.29 billion pounds or more than 4.6 million tons of apples were produced in the U.S. in 2010. In a non-citrus comparison, grape production equaled 7.26 million tons, whereas peaches equaled 1.15 million tons and pears equaled 0.8 million tons.
  • Washington has the most apple-bearing acres at 153,000 and, therefore, produces the most apples at 5.5 billion pounds.
  • Acres producing apples have decreased steadily over the last decade from almost 410,000 to 2010’s 345,000 acres.

You’re welcome in advance for being the hero of your trivia team the next time an apple question comes up — because that could so happen. Here’s an apple pie to you! What’s your favorite apple treat?

P.S. Want more on apples and other fall harvests from trees? Check out the October issue of our e-newsletter, Forestbytes.