Posted on Fri, August 10, 2012 by Slow Food USA
0 Comments | Categories: Biodiversity, School Food,
Written by Kelley McCrudden, Slow Food USA intern
The origin of gifting an apple on the first day of school is a bit of a mystery. Many believe the practice stems from the role of the apple as a divine food or source of immortality from ancient Greek mythology, while others link the apple to the lesson of right and wrong through the story of Adam and Eve. Some say it began in early colonial America when teachers were paid with the fruit and other foods in exchange for lessons. Provided that apples were some of the hardiest fruits grown in New England- often stored in cellars through the winter months- apples may have naturally become the most prevalent form of compensation.
Regardless of which story you choose to believe, it’s easy to see that giving an apple away is a smart decision. Not only are apples a healthy (only 80 calories) and a tasty treat, they are in season this time of year and will be coming to grocery stores throughout the country in mass quantities.
The numbers also show that more likely than not your teacher or your child’s teacher would love to get an apple. The average American consumes about 17 pounds of fresh apples every year. To fuel the incredible demand for the fruit, the U.S. grows over 4,200,000 metric tons annually, making it the second largest producer in the world. Although the Northwest leads in production by far, apples are grown in all 50 states.
With more than 2,500 different species of apples grown throughout the U.S., one might think that deciding which variety to pick would be challenging. However, today only 11 varieties compose nearly 90% of all apples sold in the country, leaving many of the heirloom and heritage varieties in danger of extinction. Here at Slow Food USA, the Ark of Taste works to promote foods at risk biologically or as a culinary tradition.
If you do decide to give a teacher an apple this fall and you would like to stand out from the crowd we have compiled a quick little guide of delicious heirloom and heritage varieties that are locally grown in your neck of the woods. Although they might not be the easiest to find, or look like many of the apples found at your local grocery store, they will definitely grow in your garden and give you an interesting story to share.
Click on the links for more information on these particular apples.
Midwest: Eureka, Hanko, Hyslop Crab, McMahon, Milwaukee, Newell’s Winter, Northern Spy, Paw Paw, Salome
Northeast: Aunt Penelope Winslow, Baldwin, Campfield, Harrison Cider, Hauer, Strawberry Chenango, Roxbury Russet, Granite Beauty, Newton Pippin, Paradise Sweet, Vandavere
Southeast: Dula Beauty, Hall, Junaluska, Black Limbertwig, Red Limbertwig, Kinniard’s Choice, Lowry, Reasor Green, Red Horse, Winter Jon
Southwest: Ben Davis, Carolina Red June, Grimes Golden, Lodi, Mollie’s Delicious
West: Arkansas Black, Capitol Reef, Pink Pearl, Golden Russet, Hauer Pippin, Hidden Rose, Sebastopol Gravenstein, Sierra Beauty, Williams Pride, Winesap