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Missouri Apple History Missouri apple history

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  • Early records state that ‘Genetin’ apples were produced and shipped by rail car in Missouri to Cheyenne, Wyoming and then transported by wagon to gold miners in Central City, Colorado in 1869.

  • In 1897, 9 million barrels (30 million bushels) were grown in Missouri, which is the largest crop on record in the state. The main summer varieties grown were Yellow Transparent, Early Harvest, Red June, Benoni, Early Pennock, Duchess and Lowell. Fall apple varieties grown were Maiden Blush, Wealthy, Jeffries, Grimes Golden, Jonathan, and Rome Beauty. Late season varieties that were stored in cellars and eaten during winter and spring included Gano, Winesap, York, Black Twig, Ingram White Winter Pippin, Huntsman, and Ben Davis.

  • By 1900, Missouri was the center of activity for growing apples in the U.S. as production shifted from the eastern states to the midwest. Apples were transported in wooden barrels by rail cars and boats to such destinations as Sioux City, Minneapolis, Detroit, Buffalo, Phildelphia, Baltimore , Birmingham, Mobile, New Orleans, Galveston, as well as European ports.

  • In 1904, there were 25 million apple trees planted in Missouri that produced a crop worth $30 million (worth about 501 million in today’s dollars).
    Census figures of 1913 reported nearly 15,000 apple growers with most of them producing their crop on less than 10 acres of land.

  • In the 1920's and 30's many insects and diseases invaded Missouri orchards. Without effective control measures to combat these pests, apple production declined. The Great Armistice Day freeze (November 1940), in which there was an unseasonably warm fall followed by a rapid drop in temperature, killed many thousands of trees not only in Missouri, but also in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Illinois. After the freeze, apple production moved westward to states with less erratic climatic conditions and lower pest populations.

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    For further information about Missouri Apples contact:
    Dr. Michele R. Warmund, State Fruit Specialist
    1-31 Agriculture Building
    Columbia, MO 65211
    Phone: (573) 882-9632 Fax: (573) 882-1469