State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania

Farm Show

Farm Show Apple Facts

The State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania would like to thank the students and teachers at Biglerville High School, Upper Adams School District, in Adams County PA for their help with this year’s apple mural display. Students designed and built the framework for the apple mural, created the design for the display itself, designed some of the signage used in the display, and physically came to the farm show to put the entire display together. The power of collaboration between schools and industry can run deep when you have a school district who supports it. We are so grateful to the Upper Adams School District for their support and partnership in this initiative!

Learn More About PA Apples!

• Apple season in Pennsylvania generally begins in August and continues through early November. Gala and Honeycrisp are two popular early season apples, and Pink Lady and Fuji are two popular late season apples. Many varieties will maintain great eating quality through the spring if kept in cold storage.

• Red Delicious, the deep red apple that is used in the PA Farm Show mural, was the most popular apple in the US for over half a century. It was discovered in the late 1800s, and its mild, sweet flavor and attractive shape and color gained it its popularity. It can be identified by its deep red color and tall, conical shape.

• Golden Delicious, the yellow apple that is used in the PA Farm Show mural, is a large, sweet apple that is harvested in mid-September in Pennsylvania. Discovered in West Virginia in the late 1800s, it gained popularity as a multi-use apple. Goldens are a great choice for both snacking and baking. The Golden Delicious has also been important in the discovery of new varieties. It is a parent to the current most popular variety in the US, the Gala.

• Granny Smith, the bright green apple that is used in the PA Farm Show mural, is a tart apple that can be used in sauce, pies, or for snacking. It was discovered in Australia by its namesake, Mrs. Maria Smith, in the late 1800s, but it did not become popular in the US until the 1970s. It is ready to harvest in late October in Pennsylvania.

• The color of an apple depends on three pigments: chlorophylls, carotenoids, and anthocyanins. Chlorophylls are green pigments, and these are responsible for photosynthesis throughout the season. Carotenoids are yellow, orange, or red pigments, and anthocyanins are red, blue, or purple pigments. Generally, as an apple matures on the tree, the chlorophyll levels decrease and the carotenoid and anthocyanin levels increase, giving many apples their red color.

• The skin is the most nutritious part of the apple fruit. Studies have shown that eating an apple with its peel will provide up to 332% more vitamin K, 142% more vitamin A, 115% more vitamin C, 20% more calcium, and up to 19% more potassium than eating the apple without its peel.

• Apples are a great source of fiber and nutrients. Pectin is a soluble fiber found in apples that is good for the digestive system and can help lower bad cholesterol. One medium apple provides 3 grams of fiber. Apples are also a great source of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins. One apple has about 10% of your daily recommended intake for vitamin C. Apples also have high amounts of quercetin, which is a phytonutrient with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

• There are 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the US and 7,500 varieties grown throughout the world. Only around 100 of these varieties are grown commercially in the US. Visit a local farmers market to try some new varieties!

• Most fruits and vegetables were once flowers that had to be pollinated, and apples are no exception. Apples are unique, though, in that their blossoms must be pollinated with pollen from a different variety; they cannot pollinate themselves. Because of this, apples grown from seed are going to look different than the apple that the seed came from. Just like we all have two parents and look different than our parents, apples are the same way!

• Have you ever wondered how there are so many different varieties of apples? The original apple farmers in the US were homesteaders. Since these apples were grown from seed, and since each seed is a unique combination of two parents, there were thousands of different varieties being grown in people’s backyards. From these trees, the best tasting apples could be selected and grown through a process called “grafting.” By cutting a bud from the original tree and placing it on a new tree, you can produce another tree that is identical to the original. Over time, the best quality apples have been reproduced by this process.

Wherever you live, there is likely a farm or store where you can buy fresh, delicious apples grown locally in PA. Please buy local apples and support your local farms!