Home Travel Jablonki History: Celebrating Polish-American Heritage with Apple Trees In NYC

Jablonki History: Celebrating Polish-American Heritage with Apple Trees In NYC

by Susan Pazera

Poland, often referred to as the “Orchard of Europe,” has a deep-rooted love affair with apples. The country’s apple trees flourish, blanketing themselves in snow-white flowers, heralding the beginning of a cherished tradition – Jablonki , the celebration of apples. The Jablonki festival commences with the blossoming of the trees and concludes when the time arrives to harvest their sweet fruit. It’s a celebration of not just nature’s bounty but also of Poland’s rich heritage.

Poland’s Apple Legacy

In the heart of Europe, apple trees grow almost everywhere in Poland. These trees are not just a beautiful part of the Polish landscape, they are also embedded in the very essence of the nation. There are humorous claims that apple juice flows through the veins of Poles. While this might be an exaggeration, apples are undoubtedly synonymous with beauty, taste, adventure, and even magical rituals for the people of Poland.

Poland boasts one of the world’s largest apple production sectors, with Polish orchards covering approximately 30% of the orchard area across the entire European Union. Remarkably, this is achieved even though Poland occupies only 7% of the EU’s total land area. Apples are the pride of Polish horticulture, with annual production reaching an impressive three million tons.

Photo courtesy of State of Poland Foundation

A Symbol of Friendship: Planting Apple Trees in New York City

I had the opportunity to attend A Jablonki Celebration, a unique event hosted by the State of Poland Foundation that commemorated the deep ties between Poland and the United States – the planting of 340 flowering apple trees across New York City. This endeavor is a tribute to the shared heritage and enduring Polish-American friendship that has thrived for centuries.

The histories of Poland and the United States are intertwined in profound ways. Many Poles have played pivotal roles in shaping American history and culture, leaving an indelible mark on the nation. Conversely, numerous Americans have developed a special love for Poland, standing in its defense on both military and political fronts.

Jablonki Celebration Honorees:

Albert Sabin, 1906 – 1993
Antoni Chroscielewski, 1924 – 2021
Jan Kiepura, 1902 – 1966
Julien Bryan, 1899 – 1974
Kazimierz Funk, 1884 – 1967
Kazimierz Pulaski, 1745 – 1779
Kosciuszko Squadron, 1919 – 1920
Merian C. Cooper, 1893 – 1973
Michael H. Ollis, 1988 – 2013
Miroslaw Dominczyk, 1953 – 2023
President Ronald Reagan, 1911 – 2004
Richard Pipes, 1923 – 2018
Rudolf Modrzejewski, 1861 – 1940
Ryszard Kossobudzki, 1926 – 2012
Tadeusz Kosciuszko, 1746 – 1817
Wtodzimierz Krzyianowski, 1824 – 1887

The project to plant these apple trees in the heart of New York City was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the State of Poland Foundation, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, and the Tree Time Foundation. These organizations worked tirelessly to make this initiative a reality, symbolizing the historical and cultural ties that bind these two nations together.

Photo courtesy of State of Poland Foundation

Photo courtesy of State of Poland Foundation

Photo courtesy of State of Poland Foundation

Attendees of the event celebrated the planting of these apple trees in “The Big Apple”, New York City,  and reflected on the rich history and deep connections that Poland and the United States share. These apple trees serve not only as a symbol of our enduring friendship but also as a reminder of the beauty and bounty that nature provides. May they continue to bloom and bear fruit, just as Poland and the United States continue to flourish and grow together.



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