Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Is there really a Granny Smith?

I knew that Granny Smith apples had been around a while, but not since the late 1800's!

Who was the mysterious matron of the green apple? Cathy's Apple Page states Granny Smith was an Australian woman who stumbled on her famous variety after throwing out a bunch of apples in the mid-19th century. As the story goes, from this pile of bad apples a young tree sprung, bearing a light green fruit that was tart but not excessively sour. The new strain of apple could also withstand lengthy bouts of storage and shipping.

The story is true, mostly. The city of Ryde in New South Wales, Australia, hosts her official biography. Born in 1799 in Sussex, England, Maria Ann Sherwood emigrated with her husband Thomas Smith to Australia in 1838 to plant orchards in the new Australian colony.

Granny Smith developed her famous fruit late in life. Her distinctive green apple came from a seedling tree that had grown from the remains of "some French crab apples grown in Tasmania." She never lived to see its success. In 1870, just two years before folks began cultivating her new seedling tree, she passed away. Granny Smith apples won first prize in a local agricultural fair in 1891, and five years later they were being shipped around the world.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New WV Grown Logo

The WV Department of Agriculture has released a new logo entitled West Virginia Grown. Its a very attractive mostly blue logo and every bit as appealing as a few that other states are using. So WV is now getting behind the local foods movement in a good way. I'm sure you'll be seeing this logo a lot around the state at various markets and stores. We'll likely use it at farmers markets, in marketing flyers, and its already on our web site in a few places (