Published April 15, 2014
You might say the apple fell from grace in the 1920s and '30s with the advent of refrigerated long-distance shipping.
Thanks to supermarket Darwinism, thousands of heirloom varieties, like many of those pictured here, went commercially extinct. Produce bins featured Delicious, Jonathan, and Rome—selected for durability and beauty, but boring in taste.
"People switched off their tastebuds," says Diane Miller, an apple geneticist at Ohio State University. Apple consciousness-raising, says Miller, came with the release of the aptly named Honeycrisp hybrid in 1991.
Food Shorts: Part 1
Now breeders create dozens of flavorful new hybrids a year and heirlooms are back in style.
Find this month's story from the National Geographic Future of Food series at natgeofood.com.
Feed the World
Through genetics, nutrients, irrigation, and pesticides, we figured out how to lift the constraints that nature placed upon us, author says.
A Silicon Valley vision: Instead of milking dairy cows, we could make milk in a lab with genetically engineered yeast.
Artificial sweeteners might unexpectedly increase blood sugar levels in some people, a study of gut microbes suggests.
Latest From Nat Geo
It's all hands (and paws) on deck when it comes to the poaching crisis in Africa.
For Sebastián García Iglesias, the ghosts of his ancestors are stitched to the tapestry of the land they pioneered.
In this new series, writers and photographers from around the world reflect on places that hold special meaning for them.
The Future of Food Series
Food. It's driven nearly everything we've ever done as a species, and yet it's one of the most overlooked aspects of human history.
We've made our magazine's best stories about the future of food available in a free iPad app.