In my local newspaper today there was an obituary of a local orchardist. I was surprised that it detailed his quest for a dwarfing rootstock in the 1950s. It makes me appreciate what we do have access to today.
Even now certain varieties are hard to find. I have found certain varieties of trees I could find scion for grafting but no one was selling the actual tree. Plus my local nursery places are very limited so for most rare varieties I am limited to the mail order places.
Communication technology and access to the internet aside, this accentuates how far we’ve come as a society in the last century. I know apples aren’t the only fruit that has drastically improved in options available for variety of scion and rootstocks. I imagine a good amount of that is due to transportation and refrigeration capabilities improving.