Wednesday, February 14, 2007

7,100 types of apples

Another winner from page C11 of the New York Times today.

It was an obituary for Bent Skovmand who was a plant scientist who helped set up the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The article is fascinating.

But the sentence that caught my eye was this:
"It [the Global Crop Diversity Trust] said that of an estimated 7,100 types of apples grown in the United States in the 1800s, more than 6,800 no longer exist."
I think a lot of times, people act like we are living in the best of all possible worlds. But honestly, 7,100 different types of apples would have been pretty incredible to experience. You could try a different type of apple every day for over 19 years. So even as distribution has improved and costs have fallen (I imagine), something has been also been lost--6,800 different types of apples.

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