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Originally published: 2013-09-18 16:07:28
Last modified: 2013-09-18 16:08:12

Avery County Cooperative Extension — ‘A season to remember’

Doug Hundley / (

As you drive around Avery County over the next several weeks you’ll see beautiful blue skies and the unfolding of fall colors. I hope you’ll also notice the striking ornaments hanging in trees. No, not just tagged Christmas trees, but apples hanging from old apple trees.
When you see that old apple tree decorated with bright natural colors of red, yellow and orange, slow down and take notice. What you’re looking at is probably the last apple tree remaining from an old apple orchard that once numbered 25 or 50? Perhaps even more! Their brother and sister trees having already fallen, these trees are often around 100 years old and we are hoping they remind us of what was once.
Was this an old commercial apple orchard? Probably not: The fact is a single family could have dozens of apples in their orchard. A standard, once considered normal, was to have six apple trees per person in the family and you remember how many kids families had back then!
Virtually every rural family in the southern mountains had an apple orchard providing fresh fruit from early July to November. Then many varieties were stored well in “apple houses” or root cellars throughout the winter, providing fruit until spring. In many years, fruit was available year-round. Many of these apples were unique to the South, and ours grew best in the mountains. The early ripening varieties were often planted near the kitchen of the house so mom could send the kids out to fetch a skillet full to fry.

To read the complete story, please pick up a copy of your hometown newspaper, The Avery Journal-Times, available at almost 100 locations in Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain, Tenn. To subscribe to The Avery Journal-Times, please call (828) 733-0401 or click to