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Tuesday, January 10, 2006 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

Is there really a Granny Smith?

Who was the mysterious matron of the green apple? Cathy's Apple Page states Granny Smith was an Australian woman who stumbled on her famous variety after throwing out a bunch of apples in the mid-19th century. As the story goes, from this pile of bad apples a young tree sprung, bearing a light green fruit that was tart but not excessively sour. The new strain of apple could also withstand lengthy bouts of storage and shipping.

The story is true, mostly. The city of Ryde in New South Wales, Australia, hosts her official biography. Born in 1799 in Sussex, England, Maria Ann Sherwood emigrated with her husband Thomas Smith to Australia in 1838 to plant orchards in the new Australian colony.

Granny Smith developed her famous fruit late in life. Her distinctive green apple came from a seedling tree that had grown from the remains of "some French crab apples grown in Tasmania." She never lived to see its success. In 1870, just two years before folks began cultivating her new seedling tree, she passed away. Granny Smith apples won first prize in a local agricultural fair in 1891, and five years later they were being shipped around the world.

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