How About Them Cortez Apples?

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<p>(Nancy Lofholm)</p>
<p>Addie Schuenemeyer tends to grafted “babies” of rare apple trees. The trees will be planted at local schools or sold to help re-establish the heritage apple varieties.</p>
Photo: Addie and Jude Schuenemeyer apple tree Cortez
Addie and Jude Schuenemeyer discuss the possible variety of a 100-year-old apple tree. DNA tests will eventually confirm their guess.

At the turn of the last century, the Four Corners area of Colorado was world famous for apples. Varieties like Six-Finger Jack, Colorado Orange and Late Thunderbolt pleased palates and racked up gold medals at world and state fairs. Later many of those varieties were lost in a modern stampede to red-delicious uniformity. But a new Montezuma County project is searching out, identifying, mapping and propagating century-old varieties of apples and sparking an antique apple revival.

Jude Schuenemeyer is a founder of the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project. He and his wife, Addie, work as orchardists and have made it their mission in life to save and restore the apple varieties that once made the Cortez area famous. Schuenemeyer spoke with Colorado Matters host Nathan Heffel.