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. . .
  • Ben LongBen Long Ben Long, an internationally acclaimed American painter, grew up in Statesville, North Carolina. In the 1970s the then unknown artist persuaded the priest in charge of two small, rural […]
  • The Hooper Bald ProjectThe Hooper Bald Project No bald in the Southern Appalachians has a more improbable history than Hooper. In the more than 130 years of white-man history it has been reachable only by foot horse wagon, or jeep. Yet […]
  • MoonshineMoonshine Immigrants from Scotland and Ireland brought with them their preference and talent for making whiskey. Indian corn proved an acceptable grain substitute for Old World barley, and carrying […]