Dan Bacon of Mason County shared this photo of his Shiawassee Apple graft (2019) and said if it stays healthy, he'll have one for us in 2021!
I'm in Mason County I just happen to have a love of apples and wanted all the original Michigan apples, which there aren't many, so I searched and searched found a source for this one. If my graft continues to grow healthy next year I will make another for you in 2021. The scion that I grafted is from Jim Botners collection before he passed, which is now housed at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy. ~ Dan B.
I am an heirloom apple collector in lower Michigan. I have roughly 85 varieties of apples and am trying to locate scion of Shiawassee Beauty. Do you know of a source for scions of this apple? I would trade or buy. ~ Dale A.
The Shiawassee apples that we picked for our single varietal experiment actually came from just one tree at a place called Albion Prairie Farm. The orchard was planted by an apple historian named Dan Bussey. He literally wrote the encyclopedia of apples, and he planted over 100 varieties of mostly antique apples at that location. After a divorce, he sold the place and moved to Iowa to work for Seed Savers Exchange. The current owners of the farm don’t manage the place very actively. They have let us come pick apples for making cider. Since there is only a tree or two of each variety, any commercial batches end up being a blend. It might be possible to get some Shiawassee scions from the orchard for grafting your own. That would generally happen in late winter or early spring. It’s a little challenging to be certain of identification at that orchard in the winter. They don’t have the trees marked, and you have to read off of an old map that isn’t perfect. They are easier to identify now, when there are apples. Funny enough, I’ll be there today, and I’ll see if I see the Shiawassee tree. ~ Matt R., Brix Cider
I saw on your website that the Shiawassee was in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana. Have you made contact with anyone in Montana? The Bitterroot valley extends from Missoula south for about 70 miles. Missoula is the largest town and other towns include Stevensville and Hamilton. I have a lead on a lost apple that was sold in eastern Washington and was sold to a man who lived in Phillipsburg, Montana. Phillipsburg is separated from the Bitterroot valley by a small mountain range. Eventually I am going to reach out and try to find someone in Phillipsburg (usually I try a local historical society) who might be willing to help me. If I find someone who can help I will ask them if they know anyone in the Bitterroot valley who might be able to help you. ~ Dave B.
Does anyone know where to find scion of 'Shiawassee Apple'? I have small personal orchard I would love to graft this Michigan variety into it as there aren't many native Michigan known varieties and I'd like to have this one. ~ Dan B.
I am a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota and the Carl von Ossietzky Universität in Germany working on a project connecting the pedigrees of commercially, historically, and culturally important apple cultivars. Through my work, the cultivar Shiawassee Beauty has come up a couple times and I thought it might be useful to analyze a sample of it for my research. Shiawassee Beauty is listed as a parent of a few Canadian cultivars, which in turn may have influenced some of the breeding in Minnesota, which occasionally used Canadian material. Would it be possible for you to mail a leaf sample to me (well, to my colleagues in St. Paul, I am currently in Germany)? If so, please let me know and I can provide information on how to send the sample. I must add too that I am very pleasantly surprised and amused to see a fan website for the cultivar, often times I struggle to find additional information about more obscure cultivars and here is a website devoted to one! ~ Nick H.
I, too, lived in Shiawassee County, 1957-2009, and never seen or heard of this apple! Born in Owosso, schooled in Corunna, married and lived in Gaines, moved to Durand; last place was Lennon! I now want to get my U-PICK farm going in Sault Ste. Marie! I found some Shiawassee apple scion from a professor in Grand Rapids MI! I turned the apple scion over to a professional that grafts fruit trees; he has been doing this kind of farming for over 50 years! He told me that in 2018 I should have about a 1/2 dozen small trees! ~ Robin S.
We have 39 Shiawassee apple trees Beauties that I grafted off a tree in Shiawassee County. We have since left MI for NYS, but the trees are with us and thriving. I was asked not to share the location of the original tree. I promise to return some of these trees or nursery stock to MI when the trees are older. ~ Samantha, Healing Tree Farm
I am wondering if there are any heirloom Shiawassee Apple trees in Shiawassee County and where I could go to take photos of them? ~ Karen E.
According to our information, the Shiawassee Beauty is "virtually extinct". There are two brothers located in Burnips MI who supposedly have about 1 tree in their orchard, but we haven't had updated info from them since 2004, and when they spoke to us then, there was no mention of the Shiawassee Beauty.. so they may not have them anymore. The only person I could find in MI with a SB tree is a small farmer by the name of Tim Stickler. I emailed him, and this is what he told me... He has 1 lone tree. He said the apples have basically been phased out (allowed to go extinct) because that particular variety doesn't keep well at all, doesn't store nicely. He said it is a very fragrant variety though, that smells incredible. He got his scion wood (this is "budwood", new growth that occurs in the spring after pruning in the fall) from the Rynbrandt brothers (brothers from Burnips) in the early 80s. They were 3rd generation orchardists, and their Shiawassee tree was very old. He said he will have a lot of scion wood available if anybody is interested in some for grafting their own trees. He said he also by chance has a few trees this year, on the very dwarfing EMLA 27 rootstock (rootstock is what determines how tall a tree gets, ELMA 27 is dwarf, which is nice.. makes them easier to manage). He said he is grafting his own collection onto the dwarfing rootstocks so he can plant them inside a vermin-proof enclosure where they will be much easier to take care of, and he has a Shiawassee tree to spare. He also said he would send me his "scion wood list" when I get it updated for this year (basically telling me how much he ended up collecting). He is a professor at Grand Valley, so is based somewhere around Grand Rapids area. ~ Alyssa K., Michigan Dept. of Agriculture
In 2016, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin-based Brix Cider captured and bottled the historic Shiawassee Apple for evaluation and experimentation.
Learn more about these professional cider makers, their experiments and their evaluation of the raw taste of Shiawassee Apple Cider!
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