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Lost Orchard

Apples Like You've Never Seen Before

About the Lost Orchard

We purchased a 130-year-old Victorian farmhouse in need of restoration, which sat on a largely-forested acreage. After many months of renovations, I decided to create a trail system through the forest so I could clear my head by walking through the forest on the property. Slowly but surely, I began cutting through the dense invasive forest and overgrown brush. Each day, I ventured further out until I discovered a massive 30-foot apple tree, then another gnarly old apple tree that was about twenty-five feet wide. As I cut through the invasive trees and brush, I began to discover an ever-increasing number of gorgeous, old heritage apple trees, most of which are between twenty-five and forty feet tall, bringing the current total to over fifty.

We are now in the process of identifying and cataloging the apple varieties, as well as restoring the orchard to help expand the food security and biodiversity of the region. Unlike most of today's apples, these ancient apples have extremely dense flesh, much denser than today’s soft and sometimes pulpy varieties. They are explosions of taste sensations, ranging from pear-like, wine, and even a hint of beet flavour in one late-season variety. Some are yellow with red polka-dots, others are green with a pink blush, some have yellow undersides with coral tops, others are brilliant coral-red, and still others are green with almost black spots. To say they are unique and unlike any of the homogenous apples found in today’s orchards or grocery stores would be a serious understatement.

Better yet, it’s clear from the surrounding weeds and invasive forest that no one could have entered the forest to spray them with pesticides and that these apples have been organically-grown for decades, if not for their full lifespan. The inability to access the apple trees also suggests that, without human intervention, they have survived extreme cold (the Lost Orchard is located in the Ottawa-region), droughts, flooding, pests, heatwaves, and many other challenges.

Additionally, unlike most of today’s apples which rear their head in August or September, the apples in the Lost Orchard are ready for eating between July and November, including some varieties that seem to survive after the early frosts and snowfalls.

About the Owners

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook is an international best-selling and 24-time book author who has worked extensively in the field of food security. She has written for over 2000 articles for more than 70 publications. She has translated her passion for healthy food into cookbooks, health books, and is currently working on a book about the Lost Orchard. She is the manager at Lost Orchard.

Her books are distributed worldwide and have been translated into many languages, including Greek, Chinese, Indonesian, Russian, Spanish, Thai, and others. Her blogs and articles have been regularly featured in/on: alive Magazine, Care2.com, Yahoo!, Mother Earth Living, and Huffington Post. Cook's work has been featured in: Woman's World magazine, First for Women magazine, WebMD, Reviews.com, Prevention Magazine, The Vancouver SunThriveGlobal, Hello! Magazine, Vegetarian Times, Glow, The Ottawa Citizen, The Calgary Herald, The Province, The Times-Colonist, and many other publications and sites. She has also been repeatedly featured in Woman’s World magazine’s “Ask America’s Ultimate Experts” column. She is the publisher of the popular free health e-newsletter World's Healthiest News that reaches over 10,000 readers in over 100 countries worldwide.

Help Save the Lost Orchard

Thanks to the commercialization of apples that favour appearance over taste, nutritional value, or ability to survive changing climatic conditions, we've already lost hundreds of varieties of superior apples. Help us to save seemingly near-extinct varieties of apples and preserve our food heritage at the Lost Orchard with your purchases and donations.