The popular phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” can be a reminder to incorporate nutritious fruits into your daily diet as part of a balanced meal, and modern apples are delicious, sweet, and great to toss into sack lunches. But for a long time, apples in North America were bitter and inedible and mainly used to make fermented cider. So how did the apple become America’s flagship fruit? In honor of Johnny Appleseed Day on Sept. 26, we’ve put together some information about the history of the apple, from bitter to sweet.

When Virginia farmer Charles Martin first got into the pumpkin game a decade ago, he started small, with a half-acre plot of the traditional round, orange jack-o-lanterns. Today he grows 55 varieties of gourds, squash, and pumpkins, and he's always looking for something new. As he walks through his half-harvested patch, Martin points out an orange pumpkin covered in green bumps — the Warty Goblin. A few feet away there's a white-and-red-striped pumpkin called One Too Many. "It's supposed to resemble a bloodshot eye," Martin says, laughing.

The United States has a diverse climate and the ability to grow all kinds of crops throughout the country. And while farmers in most of the United States grow a lot of corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton (these crops, called “commodity” or “row” crops, account for almost 240 million acres of the 325 million acres planted to crops), farmers also grow a wide range of fruits and vegetables, from apples to lettuce to pumpkins, and everything in between.

First, here’s a bit of history about Mexico’s Independence. Grito de Dolores marks the start of the country’s War of Independence from Spain on Sept. 16, 1810. On that morning, Fr. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a beloved Catholic priest who ordered the arrest of Spaniards in the town of Dolores, rang church bells and shouted “Mexicanos, viva Mexico,” encouraging Mexicans to take back land stolen from their predecessors by the Spaniards.