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ApplesI spent Independence Day in the Shenandoah Valley. Anytime I’m there this time of year I start thinking about how when I was a kid my grandparents would take my brother and me to the orchards to pick fresh fruit. Apples, peaches, grapes, nectarines – it seems we picked everything short of tropical fruit.

I recently learned that this variety of fruit wasn’t around during colonial times. “Government Book Talk,” a blog by the Government Printing Office, highlighted the interesting book, “Fruitful Legacy: A Historic Context for Orchards in the United States” that traces the evolution of orchards from 1600 to today.

In colonial times, chances of grabbing a tasty apple or peach from a tree were slim. Most fruit was grown for animal feed and cider and was not fit for human consumption when raw. Garden orchards, which were only grown on the residences of the wealthy, produced the fruit that we easily find at the store today.

There are still orchards in operation that use these older types of fruits and some of their trees are actually eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. If you’ve never picked fruit, you can find orchards in your state or if you want to skip the work, pick up some fruit from your local farmers’ market.

How often do you eat fresh fruit?

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