Married horticulturists Jude and Addie Schuenmeyer officially launched the nonprofit Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project, or MORP, in 2014 to preserve legacy apple orchards in southwestern Colorado. “You can’t drive across Montezuma County without seeing old orchards, but they’re so prevalent they start blending into the landscape,” says Jude.
Some orchards date back to the early 1900s, but the local industry withered with the ascendance of the apple industry in Washington state in the 1950s. That led to the mass production of Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples, while most of the country’s more than 15,000 heirloom varieties — the bread and butter in Montezuma County — were left to rot.
“Colorado grows some of the best-quality apples on Earth,” says Jude. “With hot daytime temperatures and cool nighttimes, there is nothing like Colorado fruit. We have really come close to losing our apple economy in this state, and it should not happen.” Read more at Colorado Biz Magazine…
By Eric Peterson | December 28, 2022