Food News: New Craft Apple Jelly Made From Last Johnny Appleseed Tree
Take a Bite Out of History
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- We've all heard of Johnny Appleseed; a barefoot American vagabond who travelled across the country planting orchards. Thanks to the hard work of an arborist named Jeffrey Meyer and his son Scott Meyer of Congaree and Penn Farm, Johnny Appleseed's legendary life work can now be experienced through a new craft apple jelly. This project is the result of a twenty-three-year journey to preserve and share Johnny Appleseed's legacy by propagating the last known and verified apple tree he planted.
The epic story of saving Johnny Appleseed's legacy started with Jeffrey Meyer. Meyer has dedicated his life to saving historic trees. He founded the American Forests' National Register of Historic Trees and his book, "America's Famous and Historic Trees" chronicles the famous trees he has saved throughout his career (think George Washington's Tulip Poplar or Elvis Presley's Pin Oak).
Twenty-three years ago, Meyer was sent news that the last known and verified apple tree planted by Johnny Appleseed was still living in Nova, Ohio but was reaching old age and would, in this generation, cease to produce fruit. You see, throughout history Johnny's orchards were often used for cider production. During prohibition, the FBI mercilessly cut down most of Johnny Appleseed's orchards in an attempt to prevent the production of homemade cider. The last living Johnny Appleseed tree had escaped prohibition's eradication, but old age had started to take its toll. In 1994 to preserve this legacy and Johnny's fruit, Meyer grafted several branches from Johnny's tree onto the rootstock of other apple trees. This grafting process has been used by apple growers for centuries because it is the only way to ensure that you will produce apples that are identical to those of the parent tree. For the past twenty-three years, Meyer and his son have cultivated an orchard in Grants Pass, OR growing exclusively Johnny Appleseed Authentic™ apple trees. Meyer has now passed the responsibility of carrying on Johnny Appleseed's legacy on to his son, the founder of Congaree and Penn Farm.
This fall, Congaree and Penn is excited to release the first Johnny Appleseed Authentic™ product: an artisan apple jelly made exclusively with Johnny Appleseed Authentic™ apples. Meyer remarks, "After years of working with these apple trees, this release is truly a labor of love. When we first started this project, we were very aware of the fact that we were planting history with each apple tree. Johnny Appleseed has always been a historic figure whom I have admired. Similar to myself and my son, Johnny Appleseed was an entrepreneur and I always respected him for escaping traditional norms. He was a frontiersman who owned and settled more than 1,200 acres of American land, he was an avid animal activist, a vegetarian, and was incredibly forward thinking for his time. In many ways, his values and the life that he led are still incredibly relevant in the 21st century. We are excited to carry on Johnny's legacy and reintroduce an apple variety that was so close to extinction."
The Johnny Appleseed Authentic™ Apples are considered to be closely related to Albamarle Pippins Apples, a common cider apple in Johnny's time. They have a tart flavor similar to a Granny Smith and make a delicious apple jelly. The Johnny Appleseed Authentic™ Jelly is vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. Each jar of jelly retails for $12.00 and is available on Congaree and Penn's website here.
About Congaree and Penn:
Born in 2014, Congaree and Penn began as a tiny rice farm. Since then, they've grown from 4 acres of rice paddies into a thriving farm of orchards and animals. Congaree and Penn boasts the largest (and youngest) Mayhaw orchard in the world, after planting over 2000 trees throughout the past few years. Native to the South, this fruit bearing tree has inspired us to seek out and plant other native and hearty southern fruit bearing species on the farm. In 2016, Congaree and Penn began juicing seasonal fruit from local farms to produce shrubs, our nod to a Colonial era pastime. As they expand their orchards, pressing and milling operations, Congaree and Penn continues to innovate and introduce new produce and products. They also fancy the farm as a stunning destination for weddings, farm dinners, tours and workshops. To learn more visit them at: http://congareeandpenn.com/.