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Greg Martin Lost Apples
by Greg Martin, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: April 15, 2015

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Lost Apples. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

It’s not quite like Jurassic Park where they grow extinct dinosaurs from DNA but according to Amit Dhingra, WSU associate professor of horticulture they are reviving some lost apple varieties.

DHINGRA: The Palouse area used to have lots and lots of orchards back in the day about 125 years ago or so. We were not the wheat growing area. These orchards used to have multiple varieties because if you go back into that time everybody was trying to live off their farm so they would apples for making pies, for making cider, eating apples so every family or every entity used to have multiple different varieties and over a period of time those varieties are lost.

Dhingra says that David Benscoter, a WSU alumnus and retired law enforcement officer started detective work on these old varieties.

DHINGRA: Who was trying to look for these old extinct apples which have been struck off the list that they ever existed but these are varieties which had a lot of flavors which people liked and in fact what they call them as heirloom apples, a lot of folks are now trying to go back to those old apples and saying, you know what, that apple tasted better it did not bruise like this or it made better pies.

Names like Nero, Arkansas Beauty and Scarlet Cranberry. Dhingra says there is another benefit to many of these old varieties.

DHINGRA: These trees have existed without irrigation, without any horticultural management in these areas for the last hundred odd years. That means they are resistant to water limitations and they have been able to withstand diseases. Even some of them are resistant to codling moth.

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.

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