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Thread: 10 pioneer-era apple varieties, thought extinct, found in Pacific Northwest

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    10 pioneer-era apple varieties, thought extinct, found in Pacific Northwest

    10 pioneer-era apple varieties, thought extinct, found in Pacific Northwest

    By ASSOCIATED PRESS
    APRIL 14, 202010:31 PM
    PORTLAND, Ore. — A team of retirees who scour the remote ravines and windswept plains of the Pacific Northwest for long-forgotten pioneer orchards has rediscovered 10 apple varieties that were believed to be extinct — the largest number ever unearthed in a single season by the nonprofit Lost Apple Project.
    The Vietnam veteran and former FBI agent who make up the nonprofit recently learned of their tally from last fall’s apple sleuthing from expert botanists at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy in Oregon, where all the apples are sent for study and identification. The apples positively identified as previously “lost” were among hundreds of fruits collected in October and November from 140-year-old orchards tucked into small canyons or hidden in forests that have since grown up around them in rural Idaho and Washington state.

    “It was just one heck of a season,” said EJ Brandt, who hunts for the apples along with fellow amateur botanist David Benscoter. “It was almost unbelievable. If we had found one apple or two apples a year in the past, we thought were were doing good. But we were getting one after another after another. I don’t know how we’re going to keep up with that.”

    Each fall, Brandt and Benscoter spend countless hours and log hundreds of miles searching for ancient — and often dying — apple trees across the Pacific Northwest by truck, all-terrain vehicle and on foot. They collect hundreds of apples from long-abandoned orchards that they find using old maps, county fair records, newspaper clippings and nursery sales ledgers that can tell them which homesteader bought what apple tree and when the purchase happened.

    By matching names from those records with property maps, they can pinpoint where an orchard might have been — and they often find a few specimens still growing there. The pair carefully note the location of each tree using GPS and tag the tree with a plastic band before bagging the apples in zip-close bags and shipping them to the Oregon experts for identification.

    “When I find an apple that’s lost, I want to know who homesteaded it, when they were there, who their children were, when they took their last drink of water,” Brandt said. “We cannot afford to lose the name of even one of these landowners.”
    More. Very interesting!

    LA Times
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    More. Very interesting!

    LA Times
    Kind of Johnny Appleseed in reverse. Are these apples then re-propagated?
    "Think as I think," said a man,
    "Or you are abominably wicked;
    You are a toad."
    And after I had thought of it,
    I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
    Kind of Johnny Appleseed in reverse. Are these apples then re-propagated?
    Yes, they are. Apples aren't grown from seed, they are grafted. The group harvests suitable budded wood and grafts it to utility root stock and then sells the plants to finance their work.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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