Yoko Ono and John Lennon met in 1966 at a preview of Ono's art show at London’s Indica Gallery. The famous Beatle was intrigued by her conceptual art, including the display of a green apple atop a Plexiglas box. They began a dialogue that sparked their relationship.
“Placing the apple on a pedestal in a gallery foregrounded the beauty of that cycle and encouraged viewers to imagine the fruit’s inevitable decomposition and its potential, through its seeds, for regeneration,” art critic Joan Rothfuss wrote of the piece in the book, Yes Yoko Ono.
Sometimes an apple is just an apple; other times, it launches one of the greatest creative partnerships of the 20th century.
Beatles fans will recall the iconic green apple as the logo of the band’s Apple Records, founded in 1968. What the Beatles probably didn’t know at the time was that their chosen emblem, the fabulous Granny Smith apple, was the chance discovery of 69-year-old Maria Ann (“Granny”) Smith in Australia, a hundred years earlier.
It is believed that in 1868, Maria happened upon an unexpected seedling growing near a creek on her farm. She cultivated the lovely green apple, which proved to be hearty and suitable for the many uses Maria applied it to. After her death in 1870, the apple continued to be grown by local orchardists and was eventually exhibited as “Smith’s seedling” in a horticultural show in the early 1890s. Soon thereafter, it was given the moniker “Granny Smith” and went on to become one of the most recognizable and useful apples in recent history.
In addition to being a favorite for pies and applesauce, tart-sweet Granny Smith apples make a great afternoon snack. When the 3 p.m. lull hits, take a bite out of a Granny—the crisp snap and juicy deliciousness are a yummy pick-me-up! Try them stirred into yogurt for breakfast, sliced with cheese for a snack, and tossed with salads for lunch. Or simply display one on your desk atop a Plexiglas box.
Heidi Lewis writes about farms, bees, and fruit from her home in Sonoma County, CA. She's been with The FruitGuys since they were FruitKids.