"A" is for Apple
Apples (Malus domestica) are in the rose family and come in more different cultivars than the average teenager has pieces of clothes on her bedroom floor (some of my research lists nearly eight thousand variations - I counted). Apples were first grown for human consumption in Kazakhstan and were carried east by traders on the Silk Road (an intricate network of trade routes connecting the Asian continent with the Mediterranean as well as parts of Africa and Europe). Apples eventually found their way to North America via settlers in the 17th century.
Before I moved back to Washington State, I got excited if I found good apples for under $2 a pound (my favorites are Honey Crisps and Pink Ladies). Imagine my pleasure when I saw the 4x4 tri-wall of monster sized Fuji apples for $.68 a pound and then a few days later, deep red – almost black – Red Delicious for the same price. I was finally back in apple country (indeed, more than half of those consumed in the USA are grown in Washington – about 4 billion pounds – yes…that’s billion with a “b”).