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Rimrocker Heirloom Apple Trees

The Apple: “A thing of beauty and great joy is this species of fruit.” The Daily Journal, 1907. 


Arriving in Colorado either by contact or conquest, apples have grown in our region for centuries. Rooted in the memories of the apple trees is a story that traces all the way back to Kazakhstan. Local horticulturists and homesteaders, natives and Spanish descendants grafted, traded cuttings, planted seeds and pits and later purchased trees to grow their own orchards. A 1907 Montrose Enterprise article reports after a visit from Nucla resident Mr. Vestal, “Between $1,500 and $1,800 [$50,000 in 2024] worth of fruit trees were planted this year, which would indicate that they evidently have faith in the future of that country.” Fruit from these trees was stored and sold regionally, some packed in William Sullivan’s champion handmade apple boxes.  Working in Paradox Valley, his best 30 days of production in the fall of 1909 yielded a record setting 11,714 boxes. 


The extraordinary old fruit trees that fill our pies and our cellars in this region connect us to the past, nourish us in the present and offer the living branches from which we preserve these unique varieties for future generations. These trees and their human caretakers have demonstrated resilience in this landscape for centuries. With a genetic make up twice as complex as the human genome, heirloom apples help regulate blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation, combat headaches and heart disease, support brain, gut and lung health, and so on.  Three each day, seven days a week - ruddy apple, ruddy cheek.


Join us for an apple tree sale at the RRHS Museum on Main Street in Nucla on Saturday, May 11, from 10 am - noon. Trees will be made available for preview online at  If you would like to plant apple trees, would like us to graft a tree for you from your old apple tree, have fruit tree stories or photos to share, or have questions about your trees, contact us at:

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