Ultimate Hitchhikers

Last week, I had the great honor of having my apple book excerpted on Salon.com. They took a portion of the first chapter, which explores how apples made it from Kazakhstan to your backyard (or somewhere near it at least). It’s a pretty neat trick.

Apples are perhaps the world’s greatest hitchhikers, seducing you to pull over with a flash of their sweet and delicious flesh. They stole a ride in your bag or rode along in the stomach of your horse, traveling dozens of miles by dint of their captivating taste and aroma.

They don’t just travel well.  Apples also tend to make themselves at home almost anywhere, insinuating themselves into the local culture and never leaving. It’s why we think of apples as very American fruit despite their origins in a place about as far away as you can imagine.

Apples produce offspring that can vary quite dramatically from their parents. Each seed contains the genetic material for a whole other kind of apple that can taste and look radically different than the parent fruit. Every apple has several seeds and every tree has hundreds of apples so one of these seeds is bound to have the street smarts to survive in their new home.

Thankfully for us and the fruit, apples taste pretty good so we don’t mind that they tend to stick around uninvited.

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