Apples to Apples

chicago rarities orchard project!
Photos: Getty Images

Each year you head to the apple orchards for your seasonal fix.

… Only to find a few sad pups left on the branches.

Orchards are getting seedy — and not in a good way. Of the thousands of apple varieties once available, only eleven are commonly cultivated today. Will dwindling biodiversity eventually kill off this all-American fruit?

Not if CROP has a say. The Chicago Rarities Orchard Project is a new nonprofit dedicated to reintroducing species by creating orchards right in the city.

As of now, its members have grafted 60 trees with 35 apple varieties — but have nowhere to plant them. Once there’s space, they’ll grow everything organically and sustainably. By 2012, the trees will (hopefully) be ripe for the picking.

CROP currently accepts dollar donations. Next spring it’ll call for grafting volunteers.

After all, money doesn’t grow on trees.

To donate, go to chicagorarities.org. Attend CROP’s Harvest Dinner, October 26, 6 p.m., at Birchwood Kitchen, 2211 West North Avenue, at Leavitt Street. Tickets and information available online at brownpapertickets.com.

Photo: Getty Images

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2211 W North Ave
bt Leavitt St & Bell Ave
Chicago, IL 60647