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A brief history of the apple

The Downfall of Adam and Eve and their Expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Part of the ceiling paintings in the Sistine Chapel. (Wikipedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons)
The Downfall of Adam and Eve and their Expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Part of the ceiling paintings in the Sistine Chapel. (Wikipedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons)

The apple was first domesticated in southern Kazakhstan about 4,000 years ago.

The fruit has played heavily into art and literature in various cultures. However, apples do not appear in the Old Testament’s Book of Genesis. In the original Adam and Eve story, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is an unspecified fruit tree.

Scholars believe the apple became the forbidden fruit due to a pun. The Latin word malus, when used as an adjective means evil or bad. Used as a noun? It means apple.

In the fourth century A.D., a scripture scholar translated the Hebrew Bible into Latin. While translating the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” the pun was added and has since slipped into popular culture, according to an article from National Public Radio.

The first apple tree in Washington was planted in 1826 in Vancouver. The Hudson Bay Co. brought the seed, according to a brief history written by Fred L. Overley for Washington State University.

By 1889, the first commercial orchards were established, according to the Washington Apple Commission.

In the early years, there were many orchards near and in Spokane. According to Overley’s account there were 5,000 acres in Eastern Washington at the peak of production around 1925.

The Washington Apple Commission was established in 1937 and is among the oldest commodity commissions in the United States.


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