Apples of Your Eye

Fruit sleuths and nursery owners are fighting to save our nation's apple heritage...before it's too late

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We got back in the truck and followed the lane a little farther up the ridge. "This here's the Reasor Green," Slemp said, pointing to a well-branched specimen with leaves as leathery as his hands. "It's been so dry, most of the apple shave already dropped. Usually, this time of year, it's loaded." Sure enough, on the ground lay bushels of large green apples, mottled as promised with flyspeck and sootyblotch—clearly the very apple my great-great-grandfather propagated a century and a quarter ago.

What does a Reasor Green taste like? Well, I'd love to slap you on the back and let you try one of these juicy apples for yourself. But short of your visiting southwest Virginia, that's probably not going to happen. I can tell you, though, that after visiting with Slemp, we brought a whole bucketful of Reasor Greens home. And for my 39th birthday, my wife made two Reasor Green apple pies. It's not enough to tell you they tasted like manna from heaven. I give the final word, instead, to my great-great-grandfather. The Reasor Green, he wrote 115 years ago, is one of those fruits "so beneficently offered by the Creator to every husband man."


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