Heritage Orchard Survey

MAPPING AWAY IN OLD ORCHARD COUNTRY

Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project maps historic orchards using GIS methods backed up by old fashioned, hand drawn grid maps.  Work of this kind, albeit without GPS, has not been approached since Sandsten’s surveys in 1922. In addition to old trees we map associated historical features such as homestead houses and cellars, and tools of the trade like presses, boxes, and ladders. Ideally, even before mapping work begins, MORP creates an orchard narrative to include contact information, general condition of the orchard, and most importantly interview notes with the orchard owner capturing as much historical information connected to the orchard site as possible.

Memories of orchard owners and their families have become as important to us as the rare genetics; together they create a powerful story. All this information is collected on paper and entered into the MORP Orchard Database along with GPS points, field notes, historical research, and photographs. MORP is still deep in the data collection phase, but it is on our minds how to best share this information (with permission from orchard owners) with both the public and fellow fruit explorers.

To date we have compiled a list of 250 historic orchard  sites to visit. Of these, MORP has mapped and documented 111 historic orchard sites containing over 4000 apple trees 80 to 135 years old; approx. 800 other heritage fruit trees; and over 100 historic features. So many old trees; so little time. Time is of the essence.

If you are a fellow fruit explorer please see the Preservation thru Documentation tab for detailed information on our mapping and database workflow.