Maine's Apple Detective
Here's a wonderful article from Mother Jones about John "Bunk" Bunker's quest to rediscover America's heirloom apples.
Thurlow led Bunk to the abandoned intersection that had once been the heart of Fletcher Town [in Lincolnville], pointed to an ancient, gnarled tree, and said, "That's the tree I used to eat apples from when I was a child." The tree was almost entirely dead. It had lost all its bark except for a two-inch-wide strip of living tissue that rose up the trunk and led to a single living branch about 18 feet off the ground. There was no fruit, but Bunk was interested. A few months later he returned, took a handful of shoots, and grafted them to rootstock at his farm. A year later, both Thurlow and the tree died, but the grafts thrived, and a few years later, they bore the first juicy, green Fletcher Sweet apples the world had seen in years.Bunker founded Fedco Seeds 30 years ago.