Beginning in 1871, Felix Gillet, of Nevada City, CA, imported, bred and introduced most of the plants that comprise the foundation of California and Pacific Northwest perennial fruit, grapes and nuts. Gillet introduced hundreds of varieties that helped create these industries: Almonds, Walnuts, Filberts, Chestnuts, Cherries, Apples, Pears, Figs, Table, Raisin and Wine Grapes, Plums, Prunes, Apricots, Peaches, Roses, Nectarines, and Strawberries. Many of his introductions are still the leaders of their industry, while others, then widely planted, provided the genetics for further breeding that led to today’s popular varieties.
Felix Gillet is the father of perennial agriculture in
California and the Pacific Northwest
The Felix Gillet Institute, a 501 (c) 3 non profit educational organization, was founded in 2003 by Amigo Bob Cantisano to identify, preserve and propagate the best of the varieties still thriving in the mining camps, farms, homesteads and towns of the Sierra, and elsewhere. True permaculture plants, these 125+ year survivors show great resistance to harsh weather, drought, insect and disease attack, and often produce remarkable, extremely flavorful crops with little or no human assistance.
The FGI is creating a database of hundreds of these plants, identifying varietal characteristics, locations, crop production, quality criteria as well as propagating them for future generations of gardeners, farmers, nurseries researchers and use in breeding improved varieties. We are online with an educational website featuring Gillet’s catalogs, numerous technical writings, variety information, historical notes, our FGI plant list featuring the Gillet plants we have identified and propagate for your growing fun, and more. Over 60 varieties of organically grown fruit and nut trees and grapes are available dormant, Jan.-March. We are also working with high school students to develop horticultural nursery skills and education, as well as conducting public tastings of these amazing fruits and nuts.
Contact Amigo Cantisano and Adam Nuber