February is upon us and we turn from a love letter to one place, to a labor of love in conserving some of the fruits of human’s labors in many places on earth – apples. We’re in conversation with Jude Schuenemeyer, who with his wife Addie has spent decades discovering, researching, documenting, protecting, restoring, and propagating the rich diversity of heritage apple varieties in Colorado’s southwestern-most Montezuma county.

Listen to the podcast

The diversity of apple genetics in this region traces back 150 years or more, and as apple tree pruning, and apple scion wood selection, and grafting seasons are all upon us, Jude is with us this week to share more about how The Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project ( affectionately referred to as MORP) is preserving historic orchards and simultaneously cultivating food, economic, and environmental strength in their region. Listen to the podcast at Cultivating Place…

By Jennifer Jewell | January 2, 2023

Pure & Local Apple Juice

Pure & Local Apple Juice

WINNER of the “Manufacturer with a Mission” award from Colorado Biz Magazine, 2022.

WHERE TO PURCHASE: Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project, Apple Core Project, Dolores Food Market, Southwest Farm Fresh Cooperative, Fenceline Cider, Eso Terra Cider, Bountiful Ridge Farm, Haycamp Farm & Fruit, James Ranch, Green Table Farm, Wild Gal’s Market, Walk In Liquor & Coffee, Spirits of the Tabeguache, Mesa Rose Kitchen & Grocery, Blue Corn Cafe & Mercantile, Straw Hat Farm Market & Kitchen Store, The Butcher & The Baker, Bruno (Between the Covers coffee shop), The Village Market, The Lotus Root Market, Moonflower Community Cooperative

Dear Apple Juice Lover,

Your every sip of pure and local heirloom apple juice directly supports our joint missions to preserve Colorado’s fruit growing heritage and restore an orchard culture and economy to the southwestern region.

We work to promote fruit tree preservation through mapping, identifying, grafting, planting, documenting and connecting local resources for preservation.

By providing mobile juicing services to area farmers, we help to build a market for previously un-harvested fruit in this very juice you drink.

Thank you for your support. Together we are the dedicated CORE keeping Colorado “Orchard County”.

Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project 
Apple Core Project 

Ingredients: Pasteurized, unfiltered apple juice
Processed and Packaged by: Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project
Pulp can naturally occur and may settle. Shake if desired.
Two month shelf life after opening.
Refrigerate after opening.
Keep box in pouring position once opened to prevent air from entering the bag.

Made in Colorado 2022 — Manufacturer With a Mission


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

What’s in a name? The importance of identity in heirloom apple tree preservation

Historic North American apple (Malus domestica) orchards that thrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with cultivar compositions unlike today’s orchards, are vanishing. There are several reasons for this loss: tree aging, cost of tree maintenance, and urbanization. Many groups have collected local knowledge regarding the history and horticulture of apples using both phenotypic and genotypic identification methods. Some of these groups have joined with scientists to form the collaborative “Historic Fruit Tree Working Group of North America” to facilitate the conservation of heirloom apple cultivars in North America through documentation, identification, collaboration, and education. Read full journal article at Plants, People, Planet…

By Amy Dunbar-Wallis, Gayle M. Volk, Alexandra M. Johnson, Adalyn Schuenemeyer, John Bunker, David Castro, Todd Little-Siebold, Lydia Pendergast, Richard Uhlmann, Laura Sieger, David Benscoter, Cameron P. Peace | July 31, 2022

Heritage orchardists identify and propagate rare apple trees

The Colorado Orange isn’t an orange at all…it’s a remarkable type of apple, a late-ripening golden yellow fruit with a reddish blush and a hint of citrus flavor. And if it weren’t for the efforts of orchardists like Jude and Addie Schuenemeyer, the Colorado Orange and other rare apple varieties might have been lost forever.

The Colorado Orange tree originated in the historic Fremont County orchard planted in the 1860s by Jesse Frazier, the first successful apple grower in the Colorado Territory. The Colorado Orange, nearly forgotten today, was popular and well-known in its heyday. It was featured in catalogs and even sent along in boxes of the state’s finest apples to President Teddy Roosevelt in 1905. And in 2018, there was only one known Colorado Orange tree left.

Jude Schuenemeyer says that the Colorado Orange is not the only endangered strain of apple in the state with an interesting story. He and his wife have found many “unique unknowns,” varieties with just one or two trees left that they send to a lab for DNA testing. The Schuenemeyers co-direct the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project (MORP), and they are rescuing these rare trees in a cluster of heritage orchards in their care in Montezuma County. “Our mission is to work to preserve Colorado’s fruit growing heritage,” said Jude Schuenemeyer. Read full story at San Juan Skyway Visitor Guide…

By Deb Dion | March 9, 2021

SAVED – Gold Medal Orchard

The historic Gold Medal Orchard, located in McElmo Canyon, represents one of hundreds of remnant historic orchards located in Montezuma County and Colorado. First planted in 1890 by James Giles, the orchard soon earned its name by winning a gold medal for the quality of its apples and peaches at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Time passed, the trees grew into their grandeur, and then slowly faded into the landscape. Over 100 years later, only a few historic trees remain, hardy remnants of the orchard’s former glory. Heritage fruit varieties were lost, and the story of the Gold Medal Orchard and its prize-winning fruits was nearly forgotten. Read more at ISSUU from 2021 Colorado’s Most Endangered Places…

By Colorado Preservation Inc | February 11, 2021

The legendary Colorado Orange apple returns

In an interview with KSUT, Jude Schuenemeyer talks about why the Colorado Orange apple is special. He also gives us a few tasting notes. And he delves into the work to reintroduce the apple to consumers. He’s already shared the Colorado Orange with other growers, so they can propagate it and eventually return the storied fruit to kitchens and pantries. Listen to the interview at KSUT’s Open Range News…

By Mark Duggan | October 21, 2020

In Search of the Elusive Colorado Orange

In a broadcast that originally aired on The Food Garden Life Radio Show, we chat with Jude Schuenemeyer from Colorado about the history of apple cultivation in Colorado, his work finding and preserving heritage apple varieties—and the recent “rediscovery” an a variety that he and his wife Addie have been working to track down and identify for 20 years: the Colorado Orange. Listen to podcast at Food Garden Life Show

By Food Garden Life Show | October 8, 2020