Lost Apple Project

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Apple varieties available at the Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition in Seattle, Washington, 1909.

The Lost Apple Project is a nonprofit organization that searches abandoned farms and orchards in the Pacific Northwest to locate old apple varieties that have been thought to be lost or extinct. At one time, there were approximately 17,000 named varieties of domesticated apples in the United States, but only about 4,500 are known to exist today.[1]

The project was founded by E.J. Brandt and David Benscoter, who work closely with the Temperate Orchard Conservancy in Oregon which identifies the specimens that Brandt and Benscoter collect.[2][3] Brandt and Benscoter rely on old county fair records, newspaper clippings, and nursery sales ledgers, as well as tips from people, to find likely places to search for old trees.[4] They collect apple specimens in the fall, then return in the winter to gather wood cuttings (scions) for grafting.[2] The project's searches focus on eastern Washington, western Idaho, and northern Oregon.[5] The project is affiliated with the Whitman County Historical Society.[6]

As of May 2021, the project has discovered 29 lost apple varieties.[7] Some of the lost apple varieties that the project has found in Washington and Idaho include the Streaked Pippin, the Sary Sinap, and the Nero.[8] Nero, which was discovered at Steptoe Butte, was the first old apple variety found by Benscoter.[9]


  1. ^ Flaccus, Gillian (April 15, 2020). "10 pioneer-era apple types thought extinct found in US West". Seattle: KOMO-TV. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  2. ^ a b Bowden, John (April 15, 2020). "10 apple types thought extinct found in Western US". TheHill. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  3. ^ "Lost Apple Project hunts for vintage varieties". Mother Nature Network. November 27, 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  4. ^ "Apple sleuths hunt Northwest for varieties believed extinct". Statesman Journal. Salem, Oregon. November 22, 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  5. ^ Zaleski, Andrew (May 18, 2023). "On the Hunt for America's Forgotten Apples". Outside Magazine. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  6. ^ Bishop, Ellen Morris (September 15, 2021). "Lost Apple Project talk set for Hurricane Creek Grange". Wallowa County Chieftain. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  7. ^ Kuipers, Anthony (May 27, 2021). "Apples thought to be lost or extinct rediscovered on Palouse". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  8. ^ "Apple varieties rediscovered by the Lost Apple Project". Sentinel Colorado. Aurora, Colorado. April 15, 2020. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  9. ^ "Two more 'lost apples' found at Steptoe Butte". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane. March 2, 2017. Retrieved 2020-04-15.

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