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Written by Kelley McCrudden, Slow Food USA intern

With children all over the country heading back to school this month and next, what better way to start the year off than by giving an apple to the new teacher in your life?

The origin of gifting an apple on the first day of school is a bit of a mystery. Many believe the practice stems from the role of the apple as a divine food or source of immortality from ancient Greek mythology, while others link the apple to the lesson of right and wrong through the story of Adam and Eve. Some say it began in early colonial America when teachers were paid with the fruit and other foods in exchange for lessons. Provided that apples were some of the hardiest fruits grown in New England- often stored in cellars through the winter months- apples may have naturally become the most prevalent form of compensation.

Regardless of which story you choose to believe, it’s easy to see that giving an apple away is a smart decision. Not only are apples a healthy (only 80 calories) and a tasty treat, they are in season this time of year and will be coming to grocery stores throughout the country in mass quantities.