Northern Colorado Apple History


Apples have a rich history in the United States from Thomas Jefferson’s Orchard of Monticello to Johnny Chapman’s (Appleseed) heroic journey planting apple trees in the new frontier.  Apples in Northern Colorado also have a rich history.  Arthur Gypsum, former Greeleys postmaster, is credited with establishing the first viable apple orchard in the region circa 1871[1]. Early settlers to the region quickly realized apples as a reliable source of local food and began planting apple trees throughout the region.  Remnants of this humble past can still be found in backyards across Northern Colorado.


Apple production in Colorado has been in decline for the last three decades based on research from the USDA[2].  Nationally, apple juice and cider consumption has doubled since 1980.  Yet, the United States has seen a steady increase in the amount of apple juice and cider imported from other countries.  In 2008, the U.S. imported 83%[3] of the apple juice and cider consumed in this country.  Yet, hundreds of apple trees exist in the backyards of Northern Colorado—fruiting year after year.  The vast majority of these trees go unpicked every year, falling to the ground and rotting for the benefit of no one and the detriment of lawns across our cities.

Read Scott Skogerboe’s: Eat a Piece of Fruit: Historic Fruit Trees for Colorado


[1] Freeman, John Francis. High Plains horticulture: a history

[2] U.S. Dept. of Agriculture – Economic Research Service; U.S. Apple Statistics – Table 3 “U.S. Apple Production, by State, 1980-2009”

[3] U.S. Dept. of Agriculture – Economic Research Service; U.S. Apple Statistics – Table 18, “Apple juice and cider: Supply and Utilization in the U.S., 1980/82 to date”

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