Lost Apple Searching and a question for the brain trust

Thanks! Interestingly, here is Newby. This specimen is reportedly from South Haven, MI - a stone’s throw from the farm I’m investigating.



Hi Brambleberry. You mention the 4 apples in your first message won prizes at the county fair. Were you able to discern how the prizes were awarded? A local county fair here in eastern Washington awarded first and second prizes for EVERY APPLE VARIETY entered in the fair. The local newspaper reported the results and by reviewing newspapers between 1900 and 1910 I was able to come up with around 100 apples documented as growing in the county. The fair was held in late October each year but not all the apples entered were winter apples. While no Yellow Transparents were ever entered, some summer apples did get entered. Red June was entered in the fair and it probably was not an apple you wanted to eat in late October. The apples were apparently judged on appearance only and that is why all varieties received a prize. Knowing a little about the culture of the time, the county fair was an opportunity to meet up with friends and show off a little by having huge carrots and beautiful apples. Congrats on the excellent work you are doing! Dave B.


Thank you for taking the time to reply, Dave, I appreciate it.

Rev. Taylor is described as having one a premium for a display that included the 4 varieties listed. Reading through some of the Michigan Pomological Society proceedings suggest that it was common to have (in addition to having individual variety classes) displays of multiple varieties. There even seems to have been a little bit of a … difference in opinion, shall we say? between the plain apple enthusiasts who’d enter displays of large numbers of different varieties (one gentleman managed 100), and the more commercial folks who insisted that a good orchardist should focus on just a few varieties.

As something of a side note, I also found a flyer he published advertising 50,000 peach trees for sale. I strongly suspect that he was merely brokering those seedlings, using the local railroad. 160 acres seems wildly insufficient for that many trees!

Have you ever heard of the North American Fruit Explorers? That is an organization filled with people who identify and investigate fruit! It is called NAFEX. They also put out a printed/electronic magazine called Pomona. There is a NAFEX site on Facebook that is non-member and open - anyone can post. There is a Yahoo forum called NAFEX (almost the same as NAFEX, but not the org). All 3 of those can provide identification help.


I joined 2018 for two years. Got absolutely nothing in the mail from them, couldn’t set up to attach my website to them, and couldn’t read Pomona online. Got an email to pay a fee and reserve motel if I wanted to attend the annual meeting in Indiana.
Can’t say as I got any value for my money. Did make email contact to Jerry Lehman…then he soon died. Already was connected to two other of the members for some time.
So, I didn’t renew in 2020…and nobody inquired as to why I didn’t.

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As a brief update:

I have spoken with one of the owners of part of the parcel that formerly belonged to Rev. Taylor. There ARE still multiple trees that may indeed be the correct age to have been some of the trees in question. The delightful lady I spoke with talked about one of the trees have the best apples, even though they don’t spray or otherwise to maintenance. She did remark that some years it has an absolute bumper crop, while other years are pretty average yield. According to here, there are quite a few trees amongst the lightly wooded portion of the property they have, and more visible on a neighboring parcel. We’re planning for me to be able to make a visit later this spring. I’m going to try to shoot for blossom time, just because it makes the trees easier to spot, especially in a “woodland” setting. And also to spot others on property I may not have permission to investigate quite yet.

In the meantime, I have started a little podcast. While it isn’t apple-focused, as such, I do intend to spend some time talking about orchards, heritage varieties, and genetic diversity.

So, please hit me with your best thoughts/questions/advice on that topic, if you would all be so kind.

(And, if you are of a mind, the podcast is entitled “Vintage Americana.” It’s distributed to most of the podcast apps at this point, although iTunes is still “validating.” All that exists, as yet, is an introduction. I’m working on the next episode on coppicing, pollarding, and hedgelaying. Apples are in the “research” phase.


More interesting old apple stuff:

Daniel Bussey on researching the history of people and apples, part of the Heritage Apple Conference put on by the U of Idaho.


Intro to Grafting: Bridging, Bud, Whip and Tongue
Another panel discussion/part of the online 2020/2021 conference is March 17.

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franc1969 Can you post a link, or more information about the grafting class?

All I can say is that I’ve been interviewed by writers for small town newspapers and for human interest stories, accuracy is not necessarily the focus. People tend to hear streams of words and respond in their own personal ways, even people with some journalistic training. If there’s no fear of being caught in a mistake, accuracy suffers. Soft news is not carefully scrutinized for error.


Here it is. I think there are 2 more webinars this year. One today, and one next month.


Hey Brambleberry! I was looking for list of lost apples needing to be found. I have been trying to locate such list through various online sites associated with the Lost Apple Project but not having any luck. The only website I found for LAP is Facebook, and I don’t have an account so can’t see much. Just wondering if you could help point me in the right direction? Thanks!

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Hi there! I’m not sure anybody has a list of lost varieties, especially for the Midwest. There is a little bit of information in one of the Slow Food publications, IIRC.

The whole thing with lost apples is that sometimes they’re so lost, we’ve forgotten we ever had them. Even more lost than the variety Grandpa remembers eating as a boy.

So, my strategy has been to comb through old nursery catalogs and newspaper articles on county fair entrants to find mentions of varieties I don’t recognize. From there, I search around to see if it’s really “lost.” If it seems to be, in fact, no longer known, then I work on hunting down where they might have been.

I don’t do FB anymore, either, so I feel you there.


@BrambleberryMeadow I encourage you to talk to @Cider4dan (Dan Bussey) formerly orchard manager for Seed Savers Exchange, apple authority and specifically midwest apple authority. He has recovered a good number of lost apples himself. Dan- @KSprairie is looking for a list of “lost” midwest apples he can help search down.


That makes sense! I was recently reading an old KSU experiment station report from 1902 that makes mention of the apple varieties and research conducted at the orchard at KSU near me. So there were quite a few cultivars that I hadn’t heard of before, but I could find information about them when I started looking. There were a couple that I didn’t find any readily available info on, but I didn’t dig far. It’s all very interesting. Thanks for posting the links above! I really enjoyed Dan Bussey’s talk, and am working through the others on the 2020 Heritage Orchard Conference.


Thought this thread might be the place to share this interesting blog post about some rediscovered apples:


Great info. I love when they find apples that were once considered extinct.

Hi KSprarie- I’m with the Lost Apple Project and we do have a list of apples we search for. The best list is Lee Calhoun’s list in Old Southern apples. Here is some of the most popular apples we believe (can’t promise) are lost and were grown at one time in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon:

Bostick Queen (Bostic Queen, Bostwick Queen or High Lo Jack), Maxon’s Early, (Maxson’s Early, Maxon Early, or Moxon’s Early), Cornell’s Fancy (Cornell), Enormous Pippin
Family Favorite, Munson Sweet, Walter Pease (aka Pease), Benton County Beauty, Babbitt (Western Baldwin), Clayton, Cranberry Pippin, Franklin Sweet, Isham Sweet, Lankford, Magog Red Streak, May of Myers (May), Milding, Missing Link, North Star (aka Northstar), Peerless, Pickard’s Reserve, Pyle’s Red Winter (Pyle, Pyle’s Red, Pyle’s Large Red), Rubicon, Scarlett Cranberry (Virginia Star or Robinette), Switzer, Walbridge (Edgar County Redstreak, Edgar Redstreak), and Windsor Chief.


Fedco Trees is selling Munson Sweet scionwood this year.


Thanks for letting me know. I have since found it in the Botner collection at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy. Thanks again!

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