Who Is Johnny Appleseed?
We all know the story of Johnny Appleseed, right? Johnny Appleseed was a legendary folk hero who planted appleseeds throughout the countryside for settlers to feed their families the all American fruit. Well sort of.
As generous as that would have been, his abundance of trees weren’t planted for the settlers to help themselves, but instead, they were there for purchase. You see, he opened nurseries of not just apples but vegetables and herbs also.
Johnny Appleseed, born John Chapman, planted seeds not graftings. Apples from seeds produce bitter, sour, tannic apples, not good for eating but best for Hard Cider. Chapman didn’t grow apple pie, he grew Hard Cider.
Johnny planted his first nursery in 1797 near the Allegheny river in Western Pennslyvania. He would travel by canoe and find a suitable piece of land and plant his seeds, and after a few years, he would sell his trees for 5 to 6 cents a piece. A pretty clever business man. He actually owned 1200 acres of land and left his estate to his half sister
He’d return to his nurseries every year to tend to his apples. Then he would head out further west and start over.
Johnny Appleseed was an eccentric man to say the least. A sort of hippie for the 19th century. He traveled by barefooted, slept outside and lived off the land. He was a vegetarian and treated all animals, including insects with kindness and respect. Rich and homeless.
As a missionary, Johnny would spread the word of Swedenborgian Christianity. The children loved him and the farmers kept an open door for the “Appleseed Man”. Johnny Appleseed was a legend in his own time.
So the next time you have a hard cider, raise your glass to the legendary Johnny Appleseed.
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