The Apple of my Eye

As another summer becomes just a memory, fall beckons with crunchy leaves underfoot and the smell of apple pie wafting through the air. Here in Northeast Ohio we have Johnny Appleseed to thank for the abundance of orchards just waiting to be picked! Many fall festivals are named after this travelling nurseryman who introduced apple trees to much of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, northern West Virginia and even Ontario.
John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, became an American legend known not only for his tree-planting but also his pioneering in the area of conservation and his missionary work for The New Church which prompted a simple existence in harmony with nature. He never married, had few possessions and depended on the kindness of strangers for a bed or a meal. Locally, the Lakewood Civic Auditorium features a terra cotta sculpture officially titled Early Settler, though commonly referred to as Johnny Appleseed.

Some interesting facts about Johnny Appleseed can be found in this article from Mental Floss.

While history paints Johnny Appleseed as a wandering nomad, he was in fact an educated orchardist and when he planted he did so in a calculated fashion. By planting orchards of 50 trees at a time, he could lay claim to a permanent homestead as allowed by frontier law. At the time of his death, he owned more than 1200 acres!

It should also be noted that the trees Appleseed planted were not apples for eating, rather they were for cider-making. Cider was the beverage of choice surpassing wine, beer, even coffee, tea and especially water, which could harbor bacteria.

If you’re looking to pick your own apples, here is a guide of Northeast Ohio orchards. Another treat this time of year that works well with tart apples like Granny Smiths is the Caramel Apple. So be sure to bring some of those home and try this recipe for Cinnamon Caramel Apple Pumpkins from Bakingdom.
They’re tasty and pretty too.

And if you want to jazz up some store-bought cider, the following Mulled Apple Cider is an easy upgrade from Fall Shakes & Harvest Bakes J641.564 L311F

8 cups apple cider, 1 apple, 6 cloves, 12 cinnamon sticks, 2 strips orange rind, 2-3” long
Peel the apple and slice in to 1” long pieces, discard the core.
Put cider in a medium-sized pot on the stovetop.
Add to the cider, the apple pieces, cloves, 4 cinnamon sticks and orange strips.
Cook the mixture over medium heat just until it starts to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and ladle liquid through a small strainer into cups. Garnish each cup with a cinnamon stick if desired.

If you’re out and about this fall looking for activities, you may want to visit the Johnny Appleseed Museum  on the campus of Urbana University or the Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center  in Ashland, near Mohican State Park.

If you’re looking for pumpkin themed ideas, check out last fall’s The Playful Parent blog here. Note that the Circleville Pumpkin Festival  is coming October 21-24 this year. It’s a free 4-day event that boasts it’s the biggest pumpkin festival in the country.

Fallish Young Adult reads…

Sweetheart of Prosper County  YA, Alexander, Jill
Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty  YA 811.6 H529P
Peeled  YA Bauer, Joan


For younger children….


Curious George. Apple Harvest by Lynne Polvino JP Rey, H.A.
5 Little Apples JP Yonezu, Yusuke
Let’s Go Apple Picking by Cliff Griswold J 634.11 G871L
Johnny Boo and the Happy Apples JF Kochalka, James
Never Swim in Applesauce JF, Applegate, Katherine