Energy & Environment

10 apple types thought extinct found in Western US

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An organization dedicated to rediscovering ancient varieties of apples announced this week that it has rediscovered 10 species of apples thought to have gone extinct.

Volunteers with the Lost Apple Project told The Associated Press that specimens retrieved last fall and sent for verification to the Temperate Orchard Conservancy revealed 10 variations of apples thought to have been lost to time.

The species were reportedly found by volunteers combing ancient orchards in Washington state and Idaho, allowing apples to be harvested for study in the fall and wood cuttings harvested during winter allow existing trees to be grafted with ancient varieties to produce the rare apple species.

“It was just one heck of a season. It was almost unbelievable. If we had found one apple or two apples a year in the past, we thought we were doing good. But we were getting one after another after another,” volunteer EJ Brandt told the AP. “I don’t know how we’re going to keep up with that.”

Despite the strong season of discoveries last year, the Lost Apple Project reportedly faces financial stress due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which has forced public gatherings such as the group’s yearly festival to be canceled. The organization typically funds most of its $10,000 per year budget through sales made during the festival.

“Two months ago, I was thinking: ‘This is going to be great. We’ve got 10 varieties that have been rediscovered,’ but … right now, we couldn’t pay our bills,” added amateur botanist David Benscoter, another volunteer.

Tags Agriculture apples Coronavirus

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