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It's Apple Season in America

I’m Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Apples are the second most valuable fruit crop in the United States, after oranges. Autumn is a time when fresh apples are everywhere. They are not native to the country. Research shows that apples came from Central Asia. But they are believed to have been grown in America since the early sixteen hundreds.

Washington State, in the Pacific Northwest, produces the country’s biggest apple crop. New York and Michigan are also big producers. Among nations, China is the biggest grower followed by the United States and Turkey.

This year, American growers expect to harvest nearly four thousand five hundred million kilograms of apples. That is a little less than last year’s record harvest.

Apples are a member of the rose family. Apples come in reds, greens and yellows. About two thousand five hundred kinds grow in the United States. Three times that number are grown around the world.

The University of Illinois Extension service says one hundred varieties are grown most commonly in the United States. The most popular are the Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji and Granny Smith.

In the United States, three fourths of apples are eaten fresh. Some are made into sweet foods like apple pie. The rest are processed to make products such as apple juice, apple cider, apple sauce and vinegar.

A popular saying goes: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Apples are a healthy food. For one thing, they are high in fiber, mainly in the skin.

Apple trees flower in late spring. Late blossoming avoids freezing weather. So farmers can grow apples farther north than most other fruits. In North America, apples can be gown in all fifty states and Canada.

Johnny Appleseed was born in Massachusetts in seventeen seventy-four. He grew apple trees on land he owned in Ohio and Indiana. He traveled with settlers as they moved West. He supplied them with apple seeds and young trees and, it is said, religion.

Johnny Appleseed was an early American hero. His real name was John Chapman. Americans might not know the story of John Chapman, but almost everyone has heard of Johnny Appleseed.

This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Mario Ritter. Our reports are online at I'm Steve Ember.