Big Apples, Big Business: How Washington State Became the Apple State


Why do so many apples in the grocery store look the same? And why do so many come from Washington?


In this talk, explore how Washington became the top apple producing state in the country, and how, in the process, it transformed apples into an industrialized commodity. Many regions in the West attempted to grow apples, but in Washington, big apples became big business thanks to the work of scientists, investors, irrigators, railroad corporations, marketers, and apple growers. How does the history of Washington apples reflect larger changes happening in the American food system—changes that continue to affect our environment and the way we eat today?


Amanda L. Van Lanen (she/her) is a Professor of History at Lewis-Clark State College and the author of The Washington Apple: Orchards and the Development of Industrial Agriculture. She earned a Ph.D. in history at Washington State University, and blogs about food history at


The CCHM Speaker Series season is sponsored by the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission. This month’s presentation is co-hosted with Fourth Plain Forward and brought to you by Humanities Washington and the League of Women Voters of Clark County. Admission is free and open to all.


For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or


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Apr 04 2024


7:00 PM - 7:00 PM

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Fourth Plain Forward
3101 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661


April Buzby
Clark County Historical Museum
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