Published September 1968 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
From the Office of United States Senator Robert C. Byrd 105 Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510 September 6, 1963 Volume VIII - Number 36 Byrd's Eye View A Public Service Column By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd APPLE SEASON Fall is the season for apples and cider. On a crystal day, the tang of the first bite into a ripe apple is matched only by the bright redness of its skin, a color equal to the brightest fall foliage. Apples are a big business in West Virginia and in 34 other states from Maine to Oregon. Annually some 130 million bushels of apples are produced in the U.S. Apple history goes back a long way. Legend holds that the forbidden fruit with which Eve tempted Adam was the apple, though the Bible does not confirm this, one way or the other. Carbonized remains of apples have even been found in prehistoric lake dwellings. The first apples in the New World may have been brought over from England on the Mayflower and it is recorded that the Pilgrims planted apple seeds and started the first New World orchards. Today there are some 2,500 varieties of apples in America, though only about 100 are grown commercially. Among the most popular are the Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Winesap, McIntosh, Grimes Golden, Cortland, and Jonathan. The reason there are so many different kinds of apples is because the fruit does not reproduce "true" from seed. It seems that seeds from an apple do not produce apple trees precisely like the parent tree. Thus, every apple seed theoretically produces a new apple variety. To grow a type of apple consistently, orchardists employ the technique of grafting the desired type of fruit branch onto seedlings or other trees. Interestingly, the Golden Delicious apple was first discovered in Clay County, West Virginia. According to the National Apple Institute, around 1900 a farmer by the name of Anderson Mullins found the first Golden Delicious tree among the other trees in his orchard. The apple has long been held to have curative values. King Solomon hailed it as a fruit of healing. And, there is of course the adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Science tends to confirm the truth of this. Doctors have found that infants are happier and healthier if they are given apple sauce or apple juice daily. And children who eat apples regularly have less tooth decay because apples help clean teeth, massage gums, and remove mouth bacteria. Apples contain vitamins A, C, and some B complexes, thus helping nutrition. Further, for the weight conscious, the average apple only has 90 calories and is high in pectin, a substance which helps the body absorb cholesterol. Apples can be ate raw, baked, grated, pressed (as in cider) or as an ingredient in other foods. About the only time they cannot be eaten is when they are green and unripe. This is because the tannic acid in the fruit makes them bitter to the taste and the pectin makes them hard. Further, indigestible starches cause the green apple to give st9mach aches. As the apple ripens, however, the starch changes into sugar, the tannins decrease, and the pectin changes into a soluble form. Then the apple becomes nature's wonder fruit; tasty, nutritious, and eye-catching.