Professor Todd Little-Siebold is on a search for Maine's lost apple varieties.Professor Todd Little-Siebold is on a search for Maine's lost apple varieties.

Todd Little-Siebold of Ellsworth is on a quest to discover lost Maine treasure.

A history professor at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Little-Siebold, 53, has spent the past eight years trying to find abandoned apple orchards in Maine to rediscover heirloom apple varieties long absent from state produce records.

“It’s like a treasure hunt to go out and find all these forgotten apples, some of them hanging on trees that are 200 years old. Though, it’s not an exact science and it includes a lot of detective work.” - Todd Little-Siebold

The work pairs Little-Siebold’s expertise in Latin-American agrarian studies with his knowledge of apple varieties in Maine.

While researching the state’s agricultural history, Little-Siebold learned that in the mid-1800s Maine had a thriving export business that annually shipped about 1.5 million barrels of apples to England. As a result, many Mainers began to plant orchards as a means of income.

“For instance, in 1850 Ellsworth had just 12 apple orchards, but by 1880 the town had 60 or 70 orchards there that were producing commercially,” said Little-Siebold.

Read more…