New York State Agricultural Experiment Station
hrough its Geneva campus, located 50 miles northwest of Ithaca, Cornell University has played a prominent role in apple breeding and research. In 1923, the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station became a part of the university, a position it maintains as an integral unit of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Experiment Station is the center for research in New York on fruit and vegetable crops, a $2 billion business in the state. It is also the home to one of the country's most important apple breeding programs.
Fifty of the Experiment Station's 700 acres are devoted to maintaining the world's largest collection of apple trees, over 3900 of them gathered from around the world. This is the orchard of the USDA's Plant Genetics Resources Unit, one of a group of sites located around the country to preserve genetic diversity in plants. In general, two of each variety are planted, creating a living museum of named and unnamed varieties from the Roxbury Russet (an apple that distinguished itself in a cider orchard outside Boston in 1645) to young trees grown from seeds gathered in Kazakhstan.