A short History of the Apple
Adam & Eve: It wasn't the apple's fault...
The popular myth is wrong: it wasn’t an apple, whose consumption caused Adam and Eve’s banishment from paradise, but an undefined fruit from the "tree of knowledge”. The apple got smuggled into the story later. There were always many rumours and myths surrounding the apple: in the Nordic mythology, the apple was a symbol of love, fertility and eternal youth. In rural customs the apple served as a love oracle. Unmarried girls laid an apple under their pillows on Christmas Eve, in order to dream of their future husband.
Where does the apple come from?
As long ago as 5,000 years BC, Syrian tradesmen brought the first apples from the Black and Caspian Seas to Mesopotamia and to the Nile Delta. Archaeologists found depictions of apples on Babylonian clay tablets and Egyptian papyrus scrolls. According to research, the original homeland of the apple was probably in the Caucasus region.
Where do our varieties come from?
The two varieties from which the genotype of our current varieties probably originated, were the paradise apple (Malus pumila) and the crab apple (Malus sylvestris).
Roman Empire: variety explosion
The first large scale fruit-growing was started by the Romans. Around 160 BC, Cato the Elder knew of only seven apple and six pear varieties, whilst just 100 years later Pliny the Elder was writing about 36 different varieties of apple and 41 different varieties of pear.
Middle Ages: fruit-growing in monasteries
The first documentation of fruit-growing in Styria was from the year 1074 from the Benedictine monastery of Admont.
It is very likely that the other Styrian monasteries also cultivated orchards.
Austro-Hungarian Monarchy: Styrian apples for emperors and tsars
Records show that Styrian fruit-growing during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was a significant part of native agriculture and even surpassed today’s volumes. Styrian fruit was known even then for its quality and was traded in many crown lands of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy as a luxury. Styrian apples were treasured as far away as the court of the Russian Tsars.
Where would we be today without „frisch-saftig-steirisch"?
For approx. 30 years apples produced and marketed under the "frisch-saftig-steirisch” brand have been a by-word for Austrian quality fruit-growing. Apple-growing is one of the important branches of agricultural production, and it holds an excellent position.
Apple-growing in Styria has also taken on a significant role in tourism. A large number of people visit one of the best-known themed routes in Austria, the „Styrian Apple Route", which from blossom to harvest has treats for the heart, eyes and palate.