In October, the Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) broke ground on an expansion of its Historic Apple Orchard. The project will help the organization protect more than 350 of our country’s most valuable apple varieties — apples that speak to the breadth of our nation’s cultural heritage: the ‘Gravenstein’ apple that found a home in California and fed the troops in World War I, The ‘Ben Davis’ and ‘Arkansas Black’ varieties that let Southern travelers know they were home, the ‘Rhode Island Greening’ and ‘Newton Pippin’ apples loved by New Englanders, and ‘Wealthy’ and ‘Fameuse’ apples that have stood up to harsh Midwestern winters for more than a century, to name but a few.
In addition to propagating and sharing rare apple varieties, the new orchard will also feature educational facilities for instructional workshops on grafting and cider pressing, public access for visitors and those with limited mobility, and signs detailing the history of these rare varieties. The primary goal is to make these varieties available to Seed Savers members through the SSE Yearbook, but the organization hopes to offer these historic varieties later to the public in the SSE Catalog.
If you love apples and heirlooms, why not make a tax-deductible donation to support this project through the Seed Savers Exchange website. — MOTHER EARTH NEWS