Lost apple trees/varieties?



  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 280 ✭✭✭

    Torey, that's fantastic! Step one, winter is a great time to do this: See if you can find and approach the property owners to inquire whether they know how old the trees are, and what varieties the apples are. Explain why you're asking, and most people are happy to cooperate. Is that something you might be able to do? If that's not an option, or of it doesn't work, let me know and we can go on to other ways of gathering clues. If you ARE able to approach the current owners and they DO know what the trees are, would you let me know that, too? Sometimes property owners know, and sometimes they don't. And sometimes the property has been abandoned so long it has reverted to government control, and good luck finding any administrators who have a clue about anything on the property now under their control! There are all sorts of odd situations out there, but the fastest and simplest way to start is to just ask whoever owns the trees what, if anything, they can tell you. That eliminates 99+% of potential contenders, but that other .5% are definitely exciting finds. Is this something you would feel comfortable doing?

  • torey
    torey Moderator Posts: 3,539 admin

    I will get on this. There is an apple grower in our community who makes and sells organic apple juice and apple cider vinegar in addition to raw apple sales. She has a few heritage trees as well as newer varieties that have been planted more recently. I think she would be very interested in helping me set up a database of apple varieties that can be found in our area. There is another apple grower, a bit further away, but I'm sure he would be onboard as well. Some of the older farms and ranches still have original family owners and may be able to help me out with the varieties they have. I will let you know how things go.

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 280 ✭✭✭

    Torey, that's FANTASTIC!!! GO for it!! Thank you and yes, keep me posted, and I'll be here to help if you run across any tree or fruit that you need help identifying. 😍

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,658 admin

    So how would I get someone up here in touch with you to identify old trees from an orchard? Do you have any chapters up here anywhere? (Did I ask that already?)

    I know the owner wanted to renew the orchard if he could. I am assuming that he is still living on that place & trying to work on making it good again. I haven't talked to him in a few years either, but if he was interested, would love to get him in touch with your organization...and maybe Salt Spring Seeds as well as @torey suggested. I have contact for them already.

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 280 ✭✭✭

    Thanks, Laurie!!! LAP has just two chapters here in the U.S. so far, the home chapter in Washington State, and, now, our chapter here in Idaho. If you send me a PM, I'll send you my email. If the orchard owner would like to get in touch with me, I can explain how to the LAP works and how to get his apples tested. I hope he has been able to accomplish his renewal and that, if he has any trees he can't identify, we can help him! Thanks sooooo very much for putting in the effort to help us bring back these living pieces of history!!!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    The old heirloom trees are so wonderful to find. the ones across the raod were well over 100 years old.

    I hope you all have success and fun checking those trees out!~

    I identified about 2/3's of the tree that were on one piece of the property here. Amazing awesome trees! I believe some of them were a mix from seedlings but many were the old tree varieties. I wanted to take clipping to graft some but they came in a logged and bull dozed most of them down.There may be some left on the top of the hill but the new owners do not allow any people on the land.

    I had heard stories that they had a cider mill on the property at one time. With all tehr trees that were here I believe it was true

  • Sharie
    Sharie Posts: 277 ✭✭✭

    https://returntonow.net/2021/06/12/appalachian-apple-hunter-finds-and-rescues-1200-lost-varieties/ What a lovely man and hobby. I was reminded of this thread and thought you'd all enjoy reading about him and his apple trees.

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 280 ✭✭✭

    Wow! What a prolific apple hunter! ANd a good reminder that there were once nearly 15,000 apple varieties in the United States alone. And now we have about a dozen, the same dozen, in every grocery store. And almost all crappy, sickeningly sweet, poorly flavored varieties to boot. Just goes to show what gets accomplished when the government is put in charge of something, instead of leaving things to the people!

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 807 admin

    It's so funny that I just came across this thread today -- earlier this morning, my husband was telling me about an article he read about a guy who is saving lost apple varieties as his retirement hobby. Here's a link to the article: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/heritage-appalachian-apples

    Super cool!

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 912 ✭✭✭✭

    This is exciting. There is tremendous variety in apple genetics out there, but so many varieties are no longer propagated, sold, or grown. Fortunately, apple trees are long-lived, so unlike annuals many of the abandoned varieties are still growing somewhere.

    Now if only grafting were easier to do! Every graft that I tried last year promptly died.

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 280 ✭✭✭

    My local farm/feed store FINALLY had Ball wide mouth lids back in stock!! Not a huge supply, though, so I took three boxes and left the rest so others can have some, too.

"Italy is known for tomatoes. Thailand for chilies. Germany for sauerkraut. But tomatoes originated in Peru. Thailand imported chilies from Central America. Sauerkraut started in China. Everything is a remix—and the world is better for it. Share what you know. Learn from others."

-Marjory Wildcraft