I find things that are the most interesting to me, are often things that are going on right around me; figuratively, in my own backyard. That is why, when i read an article today about a man who lived less than an hour away from me; and actually at one time in my life, lived less than 10 minutes from my childhood home…i took a major interest in the story of his life and his death. He was an inspiration to watch and learn from.
This man’s name was Lewis (Luke) Arends. He lived in Sparta, Michigan. You might find by reading this post that you may share a connection with him as well. Luke was 91 years old when he died on Monday. But, what i found is that he was the man who “discovered” the Paula Red apple, that many of us know and love. Paula Reds have a sweet/tart tingle on your tongue and when you taste them, they almost remind you of a ripe strawberry. When mixed with a couple of other variety of apples…they make a wonderfully, tangy applesauce to feed to your family. The texture is smooth and cool. The skins remind me of the old saying, red apple cheeks.
It seems that Mr. Arends was an apple grower in the 1950’s. One day, he noticed an apple tree that was a little bit different than the rest. He continued to watch this tree grow and eventually, produce apples in time. He learned that this apple tree was different, in the fact that the apples began to ripen much earlier, in August, than the other apples that he had growing in his orchard. This new variety of apple tree was good and he decided to name it after his wife, who’s name was Pauline. The tree is still standing there…a natural tribute to the man; and to the fruit growers who were wise enough to recognize a gift from above. The tree provided early income needed to bridge the gap from one season to the next…helping fruit producers to ride out the ups and downs that naturally occur due to mother nature’s temperment year- to- year.
This is when the apple called Paula Red was born. So, through patenting and propagating the species…everyone gets to enjoy a good tasting, early ripening apple before the first bite of autumn makes it’s presence known. Thank you Mr. Arends for paying attention to the gift growing in your own backyard. God bless!