Many organic fruit trees are heirloom or antique varieties. One reason is that the older varieties have tested and proven records about production, proper care and potential problems of these fruit trees. Old growing methods for antique fruit tree varieties were recorded in the days before chemical use was commonplace. Time-tested organic growing methods on time-tested fruit tree varieties is a history that organic growers appreciate.
Trees of Antiquity
The family owned nursery, Trees of Antiquity, offers organically raised fruit trees to home gardeners and orchardists. The philosophy of this company is to preserve older varieties of fruit trees, and at the same time to celebrate the diversity of these plants. The owners, Neil and Danielle Collins, write of consumers’ expectations of “visually homogenous fruit” on supermarket shelves. They encourage people to embrace the distinctive qualities that made heirloom fruit varieties favorites. Their organic growing methods include five-year crop rotation to prevent soil borne pathogens. The fallow areas are planted with green manure crops with compost added to rebuild the soil. Hedgerows of native plants maintain the natural fauna.
Seeds of Change
Seeds of Change began as an organic seed company in 1989. Their mission was to “preserve biodiversity and to promote sustainable, organic agriculture.” Today the company offers over 1200 varieties of organic seeds and plants for sale. Their organic apple trees include heirloom varieties from around the world, including the White Pearmain Apple, the oldest known English apple variety, dating from 1200 AD.
Seeds of Change also has a research farm at El Guique, NM. They sponsor various educational seminars around the country.
Rolling River Nursery
Since the mid-1970s, the Rolling River Nursery in northern California has provided organic fruit and nut trees to orchards and home growers. Their stock comes from their commercial organic orchard and farm, and includes several varieties of fruit and nut trees as well as citrus, avocados and many native shrubs and plants. They provide information on the types of rootstock used for grafting their trees, as well as planting and care tips to guide their customers to success.