Ark of Taste
Capitol Reef Apple
Capitol Reef National Park is known for more than just its scenic views of geologic features and glorious hikes, it is also the home of the Capitol Reef Apple, which is cultivated onsite in the park’s historic Fruita Orchards. Fruita, which was settled in 1880, was home to no more than ten families at its peak. Today the orchards are preserved as a Rural Historic Landscape by the National Park Service, and are all that remains of this tiny town.
As a sugary, moist and crunchy apple, the Capitol Reef Apple is well suited for pies, but not tart enough for cider. This apple is famous for its production in Fruita, where it is uniquely adapted to the canyon microclimates of the slick and rocky country. With 3,000 trees, the orchard is the largest historic orchard complex in the US National Park system.
The National Parks Service takes care to produce the apple in a sustainable manner by contracting the Center for Sustainable Environments to handle organic management of the Fruita Orchards. The Capitol Reef is also represented on a small-scale farm at Flatland Flower Farm in Sebastopol, California.