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National Johnny Appleseed Day

Apples in a basket
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March 11, 2021 is National Johnny Appleseed Day.

John Chapman, the tin-pan-hatted ragamuffin who treks the outdoors sowing apple seeds in his every shoeless footstep. Children love him and we’ve grown up knowing him as Johnny Appleseed. My childhood recollection of Johnny Appleseed comes from a dated 1948 Walt Disney short film and a Mary Pope Osborne book that I can’t quite remember. (Perhaps it was American Tall Tales.) While animated fiction and kid friendly books are entertaining, there are some fun facts you don’t hear on the reg.

For example, did you know that the apples from the trees he planted were not for eating? They were called “spitters” because if someone took a bite, they would spit them out. These spitters were used for making hard cider until the time of Prohibition when a lot of the Johnny Appleseed planted orchards were wiped out. Over the years, the orchards have been replanted (though it takes 20+ years to grow a spitter tree) and spitters are still used today to make hard cider.

He also didn’t plant the apple seeds primarily out of the goodness of his heart. He planted apple orchards on lands he claimed with the intent to sell the lands for a profit. He was flipping properties before HGTV made it trendy.

With that being said, we can still honor this day by appreciating what one man did in the name of apples, without eating spitters or drinking hard cider. On this National Johnny Appleseed Day, you can read a blog (like this one!), pick up a book or make an apple recipe (sans spitters). Check out the links below.

(As a side note, Johnny Appleseed actually has two national holidays: March 11 and September 26. September is his acknowledged birthdate and the March date coincides with the planting season.)


A Very Brief Account of the Harvey Family and the Johnny Appleseed Tree

Fort Wayne Pioneer: Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman

National Johnny Appleseed Day


Johnny Appleseed Cake by Mr. Food

Caramel Apple Dump Cake by Snappy Gourmet

Caramel Apple Nachos by Lil’ Luna