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The apple emerged as a celebrated fruit at the beginning of the peopling of Earth. Whether you start with Adam and Eve or the anthropological data on Stone Age man in Europe, the apple was there. Greek and Roman mythology refer to apples as symbols of love and beauty. When the Romans conquered England about the first century B.C., they brought apple cultivation with them. William Tell gained fame by shooting an apple off his son's head at the order of invaders of Switzerland.

The Pilgrims discovered crabapples had preceded them to America, but the fruit was not very edible. The Massachusetts Bay Colony requested seeds and cuttings from England, which were brought over on later voyages of the Mayflower.

Other Europeans brought apple stock to Virginia and the Southwest, and a Massachusetts man, John Chapman, became famous for planting trees throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (his name became "Johnny Appleseed"). Seeds from an apple given to a London sea capitan in 1820 are sometimes said to be the origin of the State of Washington apple crop (now the largest in the U.S.).