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Video: Ohio farmer's quest for the perfect apple The Ever Crisp exists because Mitch Lynd, of Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala, took bold steps to preserve his family's way of life.
In 1998, he co-founded the apple-breeding project that developed the sweet, crunchy variety.
In fact, the last apple of any significance to come out of Ohio was the Melrose in 1944.
Of the country's four major apple-breeding programs, two are located within the powerhouse apple states of Washington and New York — Washington State University and Cornell University.
“In that sense, he was a real pioneer — intuitive and just plain understanding of what the market really needed and was lacking.” Yet, even with the profitable Honeycrisp in his farm's portfolio, Lynd knew it would not save the orchard, as it, too, was vulnerable to late frost. Finding someone to develop it was another problem entirely.
“We needed a new apple that didn't exist, that (grew) as reliably as Rome Beauty, primarily by blooming late — late enough to escape spring freezes — and we needed one that everybody would want to eat. The survival of his family's business depended on it. Ohio State University hasn't had an apple-breeding program for more than 60 years.
I’m patient, but at some point my patience runs out.
Lynd's family has been growing apples in Ohio since the 1800s, but he saw a bleak future for the coming generations.
For decades, the Lynds made much of their money growing and selling Rome Beauty apples.
There's an environmental reason those states are the country's No. Washington's climate benefits from the Pacific Ocean and upstate New York's from Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes.
Areas with maritime influence are reliable growing areas, Lynd explained.
Late in the 2008 growing season, David Doud took a stroll through the orchard where he was raising test trees for an apple-breeding program. “I take a bite of this, take a chew, and ‘That's pretty good,'” said Doud, whose farm is in eastern Indiana.