Apples & National Maritime Day (May 22)

5/14/2018 - 6:22:05 PM

On 22 May 1819, the American steamship Savannah set sail from Savannah, Georgia. This transoceanic voyage was the first of its kind. Up until this time, no ship had used steam power to make such a voyage, but had relied solely on wind. In 1933, the U.S. Congress declared May 22 as National Maritime day so as to honor and celebrate the Maritime Industry and its many participants throughout history. (Nat’l Maritime Day)

The Savannah

Whether we realize it or not, we are indebted to the maritime industry for the lifestyle we enjoy today. An example of these benefits is our almost unlimited access to such a wide variety of food. As part of the transportation infrastructure, the maritime industry plays a large role in transporting food to countries all over the world. (, greencarrier)

Because of sea going vessels, people groups throughout history have been able to travel to other parts of the world. When Europeans came to what we now call the United States, they brought many things that were new to this area of the world. Among their cargo were apple “seeds and cuttings from Europe, and while the original varieties planted were not all suited for cultivation in the New World, their seeds began to produce all-new varieties of American apples.” (

Thus, without commercial ocean travel, we would not have the apples we have today. And as the European population grew and spread inland, they took these seeds and cuttings with them. By 1905, there were approximately 14,000 distinct varieties of apples in the U.S. (A Curious Tale: The Apple in North America)

Apple Fruit Drawing Apple Clipart Etc Clipart Best Clipart Best

One notable example of the advantage of transportation was its effect on the distribution of the Newtown Yellow

Pippin (a strain of the original Newtown Pippin, which is green.) The Yellow Newtown Pippin has been grown in Virginia since 1755. Upon his return from the French and Indian War, state militia officer, Thomas Walker, brought scion wood of the Newtown Pippin to his home county of Albemarle. He distributed the tree in North Garden, Albemarle County and it is now known as the Albemarle Pippin. (It's Crunch Time for the Venerable Pippin)

“The crisp, juicy, firm flesh and very distinctive taste, along with its excellent keeping qualities, made the Pippin the most prized of American dessert apples from the early 18th century. It grows especially well in the Virginia Piedmont and attracted great notoriety when Andrew Stevenson, the American minister to St. James, presented the young Victoria with a gift basket of the apples in 1838 from his wife's Albemarle County home, Enniscorthy. ‘Never did a barrel of apples obtain so much reputation for the fruits of our country,’ Sallie Coles Stevenson reported. As a gesture of appreciation, Parliament permitted the Virginia apple to enter Britain duty-free, and the Albemarle Pippin became an important export, commanding premium prices in the English market. After World War I, Parliament levied duties again on non-Commonwealth fruit, and the Pippin's market waned.” (Albemarle Pippin)

The story of the Albemarle Pippin is just one of many examples of how ships and other means of transportation played a part in the history of the North American apple varieties. And it must be noted, that since a particular variety of apple (Yellow Delicious, Fuji, etc.) do not “naturally” propagate themselves, scions must be physically transported to wherever a grower wants to cultivate them. There must have been a lot of transporting to achieve 14,000 different varieties by 1905!

Even though U.S. commercial apples are only about .07% of what was available in 1905, we can once again discover and taste apples not widely available. Because of information technology (which is closely linked to transport technology), we can track down apples such as the Albemarle Pippin; apples having a long history, featuring unique and explosive flavors. With the advent of the slow/local food movement, more and more of us will experience and enjoy the benefits of “Old World Food” just like England did in the 19th and 20th centuries. Everytime a ship unloaded Albemarle Pippins at an English port, I’m sure the “crisp, juicy, firm flesh and very distinctive taste, along with its excellent keeping qualities,” were sold to many a happy customer!

While we don’t have Albemarle Pippins (not yet any way!), and you don’t need a ship to reach us, here at Kauffman’s we continue to pursue ways to grow fruit that is healthy and bursting with the kind of flavor you have to wipe off your chin. Our apple page gives you a rundown of what you can look forward to. Apple season begins again very soon! The four varieties below are a sampling of old and new world efforts to grow the best and tastiest apples we can.

Summer Rambo

A grass green-colored Lancaster County favorite for applesauce and apple pie "from way back" - Summer Rambo was first grown in France in the mid-1500's! They may not be the most handsome apples of all, but the flavor of Summer Rambo    apple products will surely win you – and everyone around the table – over quickly!” KFF


“This variety originated as a chance seedling behind the smokehouse of a Bird-in-Hand farm in the 1800's and has been a Lancaster County specialty ever since. Its green skin color and tart flavor invites comparison with Granny Smith, but Smokehouse ripens eight weeks earlier. Any local old-timer can vouch that this antique apple with the “lively” flavor is ideal for all cooking, baking, sauce, and salad purposes. We’d be interested in knowing how your sauce or baked apple dishes using this antique, PA Dutch Country fixture variety turned out – just let us know!” KFF



“Discovered around the close of the Civil War by J. Stayman of Leavenworth, Kansas, this seedling of Winesap has long been one of the most popular cultivars we grow. "Rich," "snappy," "distinctive," and "closest thing to bullets we grow" are all terms that describe Stayman's taste and texture very well. And check this out - notice what these consumers say about Stayman’s stay-ability even in the 21st century!” KFF



“Another new variety, and one we have high hopes for. You’ll enjoy experiencing this apple both as a fresh-eating winner (long-time market staffer Calvin Fisher and orchard manager Clair Kauffman both recommend it) and in your baked apple dishes. Being a disease-resistant apple (developed through the combined efforts of Purdue University, Rutgers University and the University of Illinois), Goldrush needs fewer spray applications during the growing season. With its firm texture and spicy taste, Goldrush is a great apple to rush to Kauffman's for.” KFF

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