Although Rome, Maine might like to claim it as its own, the Rome apple originated in Rome, Ohio.  In 1816 Joel Gillett found an odd tree in a shipment from Putnam Nursery. He gave it to his son Alanson, saying, “Here’s a Democrat. You may have this one.” His son planted the tree on the banks of the Ohio River, where several years later it began to produce. His cousin, Horatio Nelson Gillett took cuttings and started a nursery to promote the apple. Originally known as “Gillett’s Seedling,” it was renamed the “Rome Beauty” in 1832 in honor of the Ohio township.  Some think that the rootstock sprout that became Rome was a seedling of Westfield-Seek-No-Further. Until fairly recently Rome was one of the standard cooking apples you could find in the grocery store. It was known as “Queen of the Baking Apples” and the “Baker’s Buddy”.  In addition to making an excellent pie, it cooks very quickly into a lightly tart, bright pink applesauce.  No need to add much water as it is very juicy.  Althoughconsidered a cooking apple, we like it fresh as well, especially in salads.  The apple keeps well; we made a batch of apple brownies with them on April 3rd that were gobbled up by the crowd at one of John's talks on apples.  And there was still half a bushel left of firm, relatively juicy Romes left in the root cellar.  One of the apples drawbacks is that it’s fairly susceptible to scab.