Back in the very early days of the Home Orchard Society, Larry McGraw, one of the society's founders, did some similar work. He tracked down historic fruit trees across Oregon, grafted young trees, and planted them in an orchard at Sauvie Island, a little northwest of Portland on the Columbia River. The orchard's still there, though I'm not sure who's taking care of it. Anybody know?
Have you been following the Heritage Apple conference out of University of Idaho? The webinars are archived there, and most of them have been exceptionally interesting. I'll bet the apple sleuth/retired FBI agent that gets mentioned in the article is David Benscoter, from the Lost Apple project in southeast Washington. He and his team have found several "lost-forever" varieties growing in old orchards. One of the last talks of the year was on a citizen-science project to map historic fruit trees across the country. Here's the link RegisTree.
There's some really interesting work going on about heritage fruit. And when it makes the New Yorker, you know it has arrived!
Thanks for the link,
Shaun Shepherd (?) does a lot of this stuff. The HOS had events out on Sauvie Island at that orchard. I think it's run by a parks department now. Maybe Multnomah County.
Supposedly there's a producing Jefferson plum there. I've never tasted it and would really like to. I had a tree for several years that never set fruit, now I've got another young graft.
I think there's also a big bay laurel tree that inspired me to get one established at my place. It took a couple tries, but I'm not buying bay leaves any more.