In order to understand the social and ecological history of apple growing, we undertook historical research, drawing upon in-depth interviews with apple growers to explore local and historic knowledge as well as to obtain an understanding of contemporary growing practices and decision-making among orchardists. The research shows that all apple orchard businesses are still family owned, and most of them have a history going back at least three generations, but the way orchards are run is increasingly focused on industrial-scale efficiency and productivity. Short-term economic decisions often take priority over longer-term sustainable choices. Diversity on all levels is decreasing. There are fewer growers and a reduced number of retail outlets to supply. In turn, growers become more and more specialized by narrowing the range of varieties. Interviews have also shown that growers who have chosen to diversify into other niche markets are benefiting from that decision and are also contributing to their region’s economic, environmental, and sociocultural wellbeing.

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