Appalachia’s Lost Apples – IOTW Report

Appalachia’s Lost Apples

Southern Living: Tom Brown Is On a Mission to Restore Appalachia’s Rare and Lost Apples, and He’s Found Over 1,000 to Date.


When we first read an article in Atlas Obscura about Tom Brown, who was raised in Western North Carolina and currently resides in Clemmons, in the center of the state, we knew we had to learn more about his effort to save rare and lost apple varieties. As the profile of the retired chemical engineer explains, Brown has been traveling around Appalachia to find rare and lost heritage apples since the 1990s, and he’s managed to save about 1,200 varieties to date, with his home apple orchard, Heritage Apples, showcasing some 700 of them. more here

15 Comments on Appalachia’s Lost Apples

  1. How you like THEM apples?

    …I got nothing…trying to think of a Johnny Appleseed joke and it’s JUST…NOT…WORKING…

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  2. Great story! He’s not alone, btw. There have been similar efforts in other fruit growing regions over the years.

    Plant heirlooms / legendary varieties whenever possible. Goes for all fruit trees, tomatoes, etc.

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  3. Good for him. The apples I ate as a kid tasted so much better than the apples they have for sale in the grocery store. The golden and red delicious apples now are awful.`

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  4. My neighbor had good apples next door but I came home one day and he had trimmed the tree in the sweltering heat of summer.
    Hasn’t had apples for two years now.
    Pissed me off, I had told him you don’t trim in the summer and that there was a way to do it right for producing fruit.
    Used to get good cider from those two trees.

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  5. ^ If he trimmed too far back, it might take 4-5 years for the reproductive stem cells to migrate to new branches and produce fruit. Been there, done that on purpose with an extremely old, gnarly tree.

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  6. We had an orchard on the hill above the house. As a kid, I’d climb a limb and pick & eat til I thought my stomach would explode. I liked the green ones, but my favs were the sweet yellow ones. The ones they call golden delicious today are not the same….but maybe it’s just cause I’m old & lost the wonderous taste buds of youth.

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  7. A new variety called Cosmic Crisp, developed in WA and now only sold to WA residents, is wonderful, and I have a tree coming this Friday. To join other planted fruit trees on our property.

    I don’t have much positive about this shit hole state but apples, potatoes, berries and beets grow like a bitch here(so does the moss in between your toes) And today was FINALLY a sunny beautiful day.

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  8. I haven’t bought apples in years. I don’t trust them anymore. They are all the size of softballs, no matter which variety. For some reason, this makes me think of Dr. Fauci and gain-of-function apples.

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  9. I grafted 7 varieties onto a young oak tree 5 seasons ago and we got a dozen apples last year from the yellow delicious variety. This year it flowered brilliantly and we hope for many more.

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  10. Most of those apples (>90%) went away as better things came along.

    Flavor and texture woo me, but too many varieties today focus on visual appeal. I’m not Japanese, so I don’t care about that.

  11. There was a stayman apple tree on my Grandparent’s property. They were tart, but were excellent in pies!

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  12. We have Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, McIntosh and Northern Spy on our property. Neighborhood lore says they have been there over 100 years. 2 were struck by lightning. Grocery store apples taste like day old oat meal compared to these apples.

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  13. “Western North Carolina”

    OK. Whatever. First time I’ve ever heard that designation.

    West Texas is something to contend with. What is so special about “Western North Carolina” ? I’m guessing it’s a bit closer to the mountains. Cooler Climate? More like Washington state?

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  14. What I like about a good apple; the core still makes a pretty good missile after the rest has been eaten.

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