40th Annual Johnny Appleseed Festival Held In Fort Wayne

The 40th anniversary of the Johnny Appleseed Festival was held in Fort Wayne, Indiana this weekend. Johnny Appleseed (or John Chapman as he was formally known) was a real-life conservationist that became well-known in the early to mid-1800s for traveling on foot and spreading apple seeds.

One wonders if Johnny Appleseed would approve of comments made by Neal Carter, President of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, on the subject of GMOs that appeared in a previous Inquisitr article. Carter said, “No matter what anybody says, people buy with their eyes. Artic Apples are going to be a lot more perfect looking than conventional apples.”

Today, thanks in part to Johnny’s efforts, we enjoy a variety of different apples as healthy snacks and ingredients in everything from applesauce to apple pie. You’ve probably heard of Gala, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. You may have even heard of Black Twig and Mutsu, but have you ever heard of the Shiawassee Apple?

Having grown up in Shiawassee County, Michigan and lived here nearly all of my 35 years, the first time I heard of the Shiawassee Apple was upon the commencement of the inaugural Corunna Applefest at Corunna, Michigan’s historic Hugh McCurdy Park, which happens to have coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Johnny Appleseed Festival.

Evidently, Shiawassee County, Michigan, played a pretty significant role in the development of the McIntosh apple that the world knows today.

The original story appears on the website Shiawassee History.

In part, it reads,

“Though the Shiawassee apple was known to be cultivated around 1840, it was a variety that was little known to the public. Its early history, as given by T.T. Lyon, states the tree was first cultivated in a nursery in Gaines, Genesee County, Michigan. A portion of the trees was sold to Mr. Bebe Truesdell, who planted them in Vernon, Shiawassee County. Among these was the original tree of this variety. Attention was given to the Shiawassee in the Bitter Root Valley of Montana because of its usefulness in pollenizing [sic] the McIntosh Apple, the latter a long time favorite in the apple industry.”

The story goes on to note that the Shiawassee Apple was named a “Promising New Fruit of 1911.”

My great grandmother lived in Vernon for many years. In the lot next to her house, which she also owned, stood a single apple tree.

My grandfather has told me on more than one occasion that our descendants were friendly with the Johnny Appleseed.

I wonder…

Friday, September 26th, 2014, would have been Johnny Appleseed’s 240th birthday.

[Image: Josh Strickland]