After delays, Chicago urban orchard project could soon bear fruit
Rare apples, as well as its cherries, plums, and paw paws—a fruit indigenous to the northern U.S.
By Chris Bentley
Aug 6, 2014
On a gray plot of land vacant since 1949, urban farmer Dave Snyder wants to give Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood a taste of what he calls “the Golden Age of Apples.” “One hundred years ago there were maybe 15,000 varieties of apples commercially available in the U.S.,” he said. “America’s crop was the apple.”
Most of those are gone forever, but perhaps 1,500—ten percent—remain. As agriculture industrialized, its incredible gains in productivity came at the expense of crop diversity. Small farms died out, and with them went thousands of heirloom fruits and vegetables grown to suit specific local conditions and palates.