A Tour of the Wondrous and Weird World of Apples - Atlas Obscura Lists

A Tour of the Wondrous and Weird World of Apples

They may be available year-round, but this is the season to celebrate them.

As temperatures begin to creep down and the days get noticeably shorter, for many people in the Northern Hemisphere, the calendar turns over to a season of lush fruit, warm pies and pastries, and spiced cider. It’s not autumn, it’s apple season. Okay, technically, apple season starts around June in the United States, but it truly shines from September to November, when orchards get heavy and families get picking. Apples, native to Central Asia, are enjoyed and revered around the world, in ways both delicious and inedible. 

For nearly three decades, students at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, have been able to enjoy a variety of different apples at $1 a piece—with a special dose of convenience. The Cornell Apple Vending Machine provides everything from ginger gold to honeycrisp, depending on the month, many sourced from the university’s famed orchards. A journey via horseback along the Tian Shan Mountains in Kazakhstan will lead to a place known as the “last wild apple forest,” in the region where apples first grew. The city of Almaty was once called Alma-Ata, or “Father of Apples.” From the hometown and grave of John Chapman (you might know him better as “Appleseed”) to Aomori, Japan, where apples are handcrafted into works of art, here are some of our favorite places beyond your local orchard that tantalize the mind and taste buds.