Tom Brown of Clemmens, North Carolina, became interested in finding and saving heritage apples in 1999. As he says on his Apple Search website,"Heritage Apples are the apples of our grandparents and great-grandparents. Their uses were varied, for drying, frying, fresh eating, Halloween treats, baking, brandy, cider (hard and sweet), vinegar, livestock feed, and much more. The diversity of their shapes, sizes, colors, textures, tastes and times of ripening was amazing. For every early farm family an extensive orchard was essential. As more and more land was settled, a well developed orchard was a sure sign that civilization had reached the American frontier."
To date Tom Brown says over 900 apple varieties have been discovered, with an actual original tree being found in each case. The apple trees are saved for future generations to enjoy by donations of scionwood to heritage apple nurseries and preservation orchards, plus trees are grafted for return to their original counties.
He helped us find out more about the heritage 100 year old Gano apple trees at the Pigden Farm in Madoc Township. Harvest Hastings is planning a campaign to protect our heritage apples and raise awareness about prunning and granting apples. The Hastigns County Museum of Agricultural Heritage has a display about what was once a flourishing apple industry in this area.