Alva Review-Courier -

Random Thoughts: The Lost Apple Project – Part 3


April 24, 2020

Besides the work of the apple hunters in the Pacific Northwest, similar initiatives are underway in other apple-growing states such as Colorado, Michigan, New York and Maine.

One of the Colorado undertakings is led by an ecology professor at the University of Colorado whose students eagerly help in her quest to hunt down lost apples.

She has also started a university-sponsored orchard to make these unique apples more readily available than they have ever been before.

The leader of the Maine effort is an amateur scientist who has been searching for lost apples for almost 50 years. So far he has found nearly 80 varieties that were previously thought to be extinct.

He is a regular presence at local fairs and other places where Maine’s history is discussed and honored. He also operates an orchard to grow the rare apple varieties he finds.

Sometimes he puts up “wanted” posters around the state asking people to help him find a certain variety that he has read about but never seen. One of the posters led him to the discovery of a tree that was almost dead.

But he found enough living tissue to graft some additional trees, and within a year the original tree and the elderly local man who told him about it were both deceased.

Although most of these tasty fruits will never be for sale in grocery stores and most of us will never eat any of them, it is still a good thing that they are being rescued. As with animals, once agricultural products are extinct they can never be brought back.

So, the more types of apples that exist on Planet Earth, the better. Traveling around to fruit stands and stores that sell local hard-to-find varieties is something that lots of Americans do as part of a vacation or as an interesting form of entertainment, especially among retirees.

Someday, you may find yourself eating a type of apple that you never knew existed. And you will likely also find yourself saying: “How about them apples!”


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