Sunday History Photo / NSW

Submitted: Sunday, May 01, 2016 at 08:11
ThreadID: 132284 Views:1794 Replies:2 FollowUps:1
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The Granny Smith is a tip-bearing apple named after Maria Ann Smith, who propagated the cultivar from a chance seedling.
The Granny Smith cultivar originated in Eastwood, New South Wales, Australia (now a suburb of Sydney) in 1868. Its discoverer, Maria Ann Smith, had emigrated to the district from Beckley, East Sussex in 1839 with her husband Thomas. They purchased a small orchard in the area in 1855-1856 and began cultivating fruit, for which the area was a well known centre in colonial Australia. Smith had numerous children and was a prominent figure in the district, earning the nickname "Granny" Smith in her advanced years.

Descendants of Thomas and Maria ('Granny') Smith have from time to time disputed the circumstances of the Granny Smith apple's discovery, but the earliest and most authoritative account of its origin appeared in the Farmer and Settler in June 1924, in an article by the Dundas orchardist and local historian Herbert Rumsey. Rumsey interviewed two fruit-growers who had known Maria. One remembered that in 1868 he and his father had been invited by her to examine a seedling apple growing by a creek on her property and that she had explained that the seedling had developed from the remains of some French crab-apples grown in Tasmania. According to this recollection, Mrs Smith herself then began to work a few of these seedling trees and soon afterwards Edward Gallard, a local orchardist, planted out a large number of them, from which he marketed a crop annually until his death in 1914.

Her work had been noticed by other local planters. Edward Gallard was one such planter, who extensively planted Granny Smith trees on his property and bought the Smith farm when Thomas died in 1876. Gallard was successful in marketing the apple locally, but it did not receive widespread attention until 1890. In that year, it was exhibited as "Smith's Seedling" at the Castle Hill Agricultural and Horticultural Show, and the following year it won the prize for cooking apples under the name "Granny Smith's Seedling". The apple was successful and the following year many were exhibiting Granny Smith apples at horticultural shows.
Maria Ann Smith died on 9 March 1870 at Ryde and was buried in St Anne's churchyard, located a few kilometres from her farm. Her husband, three sons and two daughters survived her.
In 1895 the New South Wales Department of Agriculture recognised the cultivar and had begun growing the trees at the Government Experimental Station in Bathurst, New South Wales, recommending the gazette its properties as a late-picking cooking apple for potential export. Over the following years the government actively promoted the apple, leading to its widespread adoption. Its worldwide fame grew from the fact that it could be picked from March and stored until November. Enterprising fruit merchants in 1890s and 1900s experimented with methods to transport the apples overseas in cold storage. Because of its excellent shelf life the Granny Smith could be exported long distances and most times of the year, at a time when Australian food exports were growing dramatically on the back of international demand. Granny Smiths were exported in enormous quantities after the First World War, and by 1975, 40 percent of Australia's apple crop was Granny Smith.

By this time it was being grown intensely elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as in France and the United States. However, apples are genetic hybrids that produce new genetic variations in their seedlings. Because the Granny Smith is a chance (and rare) mutation, the seeds of the apple, when grown, tend to produce a tart green apple with a much less appealing taste. To preserve the exact genetic variation cutting and grafting are required. Thus, like the navel orange and the Cavendish banana, all the Granny Smith apples grown today are cuttings from the original Smith tree in Sydney.The advent of the Granny Smith Apple is now celebrated annually in Eastwood with the Granny Smith Festival.
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Reply By: Member - Keith P (NSW) - Sunday, May 01, 2016 at 12:40

Sunday, May 01, 2016 at 12:40
Another top article Doug.

Also enjoyed your show yesty too.

Cheers Keith
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Monday, May 02, 2016 at 07:20

Monday, May 02, 2016 at 07:20
Where are you to listen to my program, are you near Orange and passing through.
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Reply By: blue one - Sunday, May 01, 2016 at 18:41

Sunday, May 01, 2016 at 18:41
Thanks Doug
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