Midwest Heirloom Peaches/Nectarines
I don't usually post in this forum, but I am more and more drawn to heirloom plants and fruits. I read a book by David Masumoto about how he started to grow an heirloom peach variety in California commercially with great success. I also talked with an older gentleman in my area who grows several fruit trees in his backyard, mostly apples, pears, some cherries and a peach. The amount of spraying he is doing is staggering. He didn't bat an eye when he told me about this. I declined to move any of my bees in his backyard for pollination, they wouldn't survive long.
Those two events have been brewing in my head for a while now. It made me wonder, how did our forefathers grow fruits in this small climate before all the spraying was "necessary" to harvest anything? Did they use different varieties that were less susceptible to diseases and insect pests? Did those pests not exist to this extend? Did they eat pest ridden fruit? For example, I know from reading old accounts that the early settlers and farmers grew peaches here in Indiana. Reading through our extension services sheet of what sprays and applications are required to keep peaches alive and fruiting these days makes you dizzy...
What do you think? Where can I find more information about heirloom fruit varieties for my area? Were the old varieties hardier? It seems like they had certainly more flavor than many of today's supermarket varieties. Sorry for rambling on, basically, what are some of your thoughts?