Sunday, April 19, 2015

THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY APPLESEED



A lot has been written about the real-life individual, John Chapman.  Many of the folk tales glamorize an image that evolved over time and was embellished to satisfy a public’s desire for a colorful character.  The real-life and the folk-tale images are a world apart. 

My poem a real-life snapshot of “Johnny”. 

Enjoy and be sure to read the trivia at the end . . . . .



Born toward the end of the 18th century 
Destined to be a colorful player in U.S. history

Barefoot with clothes misfit for his frame
A character for sure, Johnny was his name

He won no metals when it came to class and style
But a notable list of achievements he did compile

An expert in his time on the useful apple tree
Their planting and care   . . . He held the key

The apple of his day when eaten was very bitter
Tasting so bad they were often called a “Spitter”

But for pioneers moving west, these apples filled a need
Hard cider, their boozy drink of choice . . . . Thanks to

             . . . . . . . Johnny Appleseed

                                                                                     Poem by Herm Meyer

STUFF:
 Here’s some interesting trivia;

* Up until the early 1900’s apples were not an edible fruit! They were too bitter
* The apples were used to make hard cider and applejack
* Johnny Appleseed (J.A.) was an orchardist and nurseryman.
* J. A. did NOT randomly plant apple seeds! He planted and developed well-planned orchards in wilderness areas
* J. A. was a shrewd business person.
* J. A. took ownership of the orchards and their surrounding land under a clause in the Homestead  Act
* J.A. also developed plant nurseries
* J. A. sold his properties to pioneers moving west.
* At the time of his death, J.A. still owned over 1200 acres of land
* J.A. is buried in Fort Wayne, Indiana


More trivia . . . . .

·          The modern edible apple evolved in the 1900-1920 time-frame.
·          The apple industry feared the prohibition would kill hard cider sales
·          The apple will not reproduce the same kind of tree from its seeds
·          A branch of a desired apple tree must be grafted to new root to obtain a new desired tree of the same type.
·          Over time, a variety of edible apples have been developed, but grafting is still required to produce a desired new tree.