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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about Johnny Appleseed, who began his legendary apple planting mission on the American frontier 200 years ago.


CURWOOD: Roughly 200 years ago, around the year 1800, a man named John Chapman wandered out to the American frontier of the Ohio River Valley, and into the legend books as Johnny Appleseed. Johnny Appleseed got his apple seeds from the pulp left behind in cider presses, and he planted them as he traveled across the wilderness, creating orchards for local native residents and for the settlers to come. It's estimated that over the next few decades Johnny Appleseed traveled over 100,000 miles by foot, on horseback, and by canoe. In addition to apples, it's rumored that Johnny Appleseed also scattered the seeds of healing herbs, like pennyroyal, catnip, and horehound, and that some Indians regarded him as a medicine man. And he certainly was eccentric. He wouldn't chop down trees or kill animals, a rarity in his time, and he walked barefoot and made clothes out of potato sacks. Also, he wore his cooking pot for a hat. Part of the legacy of Johnny Appleseed may still be living. A tree said to be grown from one of his seeds in Novo, Ohio, is still producing fruit. Rambo apples, supposedly Johnny's favorite kind. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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