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How to Get an Authentic Johnny Appleseed Tree

You learned about Johnny Appleseed in school. Now, you can buy an apple tree that is a descendant of one he planted for your own yard.

John Chapman planted apple trees across the American frontier during the mid-1800s, but many were lost to advanced age, weather conditions and even federal agents who chopped them down as a way to combat hard-cider production during Prohibition.

Yet the work of the man who became known in American lore as Johnny Appleseed lives on thanks to a family of farmers in Ashtabula County, who sustained a tree that is now the last known living descendant of Chapman’s original plantings.

Chapman was born in Massachusetts in 1774, but he spent a lot of time in Richland County, Ohio, where he planted many trees and helped build nurseries. Those nurseries provided many of Ohio’s first orchards with saplings. For eight generations, the Harvey Algeo family of Ashtabula County has cared for its Chapman tree. Now, the family has teamed up with Florida-based Johnny Appleseed Authentic to sell bud-grafted, genetically identical saplings of their Algeo apple tree.

“I’ve been planting trees since I was really young, and through my entire career, I have raised money to help plant millions of trees,” says Jeff Meyer, founder of Johnny Appleseed Authentic. “It’s what I’ve always done, and I thought this would be a great connection for people to have.”

Grown in proper conditions, Algeo apple trees yield firm, green apples around 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter. The apples have a very sweet taste and medium acidity, making them great for baking, cooking and, of course, making cider.

Visit shopjohnnyappleseed.com for more information.