January 6, National Apple Tree Day

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The apple is deeply embedded in American culture, endeared to our hearts by John Chapman, “Johnny Appleseed”, and grown in all 50 states. Today, over 2,500 varieties of apples are cultivated in North America, despite the crabapple being the only native species to the continent.

A member of the rose family, apple trees can live for over 100 years. The oldest known apple tree was still bearing fruit at 219 years when it was felled during a train accident.

On March 22, 2228, the future Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise will be born in Riverside, Iowa. Gene Rodenberry wrote that a young Kirk would swing on an apple tree in his small town. Upon reading this, the town of Riverside, Iowa planted an apple tree in a park with a sign letting people know this was for the future captain’s childhood swing.

Henderson County, located in North Carolina’s Mountain Region, boasts a climate ideal for apple cultivation, so unsurprisingly leads the state in apple production. Over 30 different cultivars mature over the course of 3 months beginning in late summer. With 150 orchards, 28 direct farm markets, 5 community farmer’s markets, and an annual Apple Festival, the apple tree is a foundation of the Henderson County community.