Ron’s New Blog
From the very start, our website has always been a “labor of love” with the emphasis on “labor”! I recall spending the winter of 1998 diligently working many long nights to create the site. I was using an early software edition of Microsoft FrontPage to put it all together, an experience in frustration that I would not care to repeat. The early software worked well enough but had its quirks. There were numerous crashes and losses of data leading to many moments of screaming and hair-pulling! I stayed with it, however, and we finally went live in the spring of 1999. We were tense with anticipation, not knowing how well the website would be received, but hopeful for a successful debut. Fourteen years later, despite many stumbles, restarts and setbacks, we can say with some sense of pride that it all worked well and we now enjoy the “fruits” of our success.
In the period since the debut of the website we have grafted and sold tens of thousands of heritage apple trees and have shared the pleasure and joy of these wonderful old apples with many hundreds of people nationwide. With the exceptions of North Dakota and Hawaii, our trees are now being raised in every state in the union! Historic old varieties such as Virginia Beauty, Mattamuskeet and Carter’s Blue, once very rare, are now preserved for future generations to enjoy. Some ancient varieties like Hall and Junaluska, at one time thought to be extinct, have been rediscovered, and through the dedicated work of our fellow collectors and preservationists, are now available once again for apple lovers everywhere.
Collecting and raising so many different varieties is certainly a difficult challenge and success has not always been ours. We have planted and lost many varieties over the years but we continue to seek out these precious American treasures to add to our ever-growing collection. Many classic apples like Kittageskee or Yadkin Beauty are probably lost forever but we continue our search for other “lost apples” in the hope that we can save these selections from a similar fate. We simply cannot abide the thought of losing more historic apples, thus the driving force behind our work.
So, as we take our website from the late 20th century into the new millennium, we will continue our efforts to protect and preserve these apples. Over the coming years I will use this blog to share our work with you in the hope that I can inspire you to better appreciate American heritage apples and the stories that go with them. I will update you on what new apples we have found and share our experiences and comments about those apples we currently maintain in our extensive collection. I will provide weather reports, discuss events on the farm and share other issues I think you might enjoy. As always, I look forward to hearing from my readers and hope you will write with your comments and suggestions on how we can better serve you. Who knows, we may even be lucky enough to find a reader out there who just might know where we can find an ancient, abandoned Kittageskee tree!
In the meantime, enjoy our new website and let us know what you think.