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McIntosh is a Vermont apple staple

Raising apples for market meant new prosperity for growers. It also meant fewer, larger orchards, the rise of several popular varieties, and the dwindling of the old-time culture that had found so many uses for so many apples. Growers discovered which apples were best suited to Vermont's climate and soil.

By 1900 the most popular variety, shipped to Boston and then New York, was the Baldwin - yet the Baldwin, today, has almost disappeared. The post-Civil War years had also brought what many now consider the single most important development in Vermont apple history: the introduction of the McIntosh.

The first Macs grew in Canada. The original tree sprouted from one of several seedlings discovered in 1811 by John McIntosh, the American-born son of a Scottish immigrant, on his new farm in Ontario. McIntosh saved the seedlings, and later planted them in a garden. By 1830, only the McIntosh tree remained. In 1835, McIntosh had learned the techniques of budding and grafting from an unknown itinerant. Trees grafted from the original McIntosh were thus able to produce identical fruit. This new variety was first called "Gem," then "Granny's Apple" when Mrs. McIntosh took over responsibility for the orchard and nursery. The apple later became known as the McIntosh Red.

In 1868, Dr. T.A. Hoskins brought the McIntosh to Newport, Vermont directly from Dundela, Ontario. William McIntosh, a descendent of John, planted McIntosh Reds in his West Berlin, Vermont orchard in 1870. The first printed reference to the Vermont Mac appeared in 1876.

In 1894, the original McIntosh tree in Ontario was damaged by fire. Its last harvest was in 1908 and by 1910, when it finally fell over at nearly 100 years of age, the apple strain that the tree had begun was bearing fruit on thousands of trees throughout Vermont and eastern North America.

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