Where to find unusual apples
The New York State Experiment Station in Geneva includes a USDA-ARS Plant Genetic Resources Unit, with a germ plasm repository containing one of the world’s largest collections of apple (more than 3,000 accessions of Malus including more than 40 species collected from around the world) and cool-climate grape varieties on 50 acres. So Dr. Ian Merwin had a great source of bud wood from which to select and propagate their varieties. He had to do much of his own grafting for the European cider varieties, which were not available from commercial nurseries.
But his farm is a neighbor to Cummins Nursery in Ithaca, where owners James and Stephen Cummins now offer a great selection of heirloom and cider apple varieties. They were key collaborators with Cornell in the development and release of the Geneva series of rootstocks, fireblight-resistant pears, and Cornell-developed apple and sweet cherry varieties. The company specializes in custom-grown trees, antique and exotic apple varieties, and Geneva rootstocks, but also provides pears, apricots, peaches, cherries, and plums.
Variety descriptions, ordering information, and prices can be found at www .cumminsnursery.com. Best contact is by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (607) 227-6147. Several other nurseries offer heirloom varieties. Search the Internet for “antique apples.”