Fruit has long been an important staple of the Appalachian diet. Early pioneers found wild crabapples, black cherries, plums, persimmons, paw paws, as well as peaches that had been introduced in the 16th century by Spanish explorers. To that native stock, they added their own European varieties of apples, cherries, plums, and pears. Most family farms included small orchards. Fruit was eaten fresh during harvest season, was dried for cold weather consumption, and distilled into various alcoholic brandies. Over time, family orchards face increasing competition from commercial operations, and old-time, or “heirloom” varieties of fruit began to disappear. Some growers today have tried to reverse that trend by collecting and growing the seeds of original heirloom fruits.

Multimedia:

Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:

[audio:http://digitalheritage.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Fruit-Orchards60Mx.mp3|titles=Fruit Orchards60Mx]

Related Posts

  • ApplesApples Apples are a traditional and valuable part of our heritage in North Carolina. The most popular varieties nationwide--Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Gala--are grown here. In the […]
  • Apple ButterApple Butter Apple butter is a concentrated form of apple sauce made by boiling apples with cider and adding spices like cinnamon. . .
  • Great Smoky Mountains National ParkGreat Smoky Mountains National Park America’s first National Parks were created out West.  By the early 20th century, Easterners who feared the loss of nature in their rapidly industrializing region wanted their own park.  […]
  • Migration of the Scotch-Irish  from Ulster to Western North CarolinaMigration of the Scotch-Irish from Ulster to Western North Carolina Migration has been a major feature of human history, beginning with the earliest hunter-gatherers who ranged widely in pursuit of food. Other motives for migration have included war, […]
  • Mountain BaldsMountain Balds The Southern Appalachian Mountains are not high enough to have a natural tree line or Alpine zone, yet the region has hundreds of treeless areas called balds. Their origins- whether or […]