Workshops – Books – Tours – Trees – Plants

Towards A Climate Resilient Food Economy:

We have passionately searched the Sierra Nevada and Western States to re-discover the living library of plants still scattered across Northern California, those trees and plants left over from the 1800’s and early 1900’s Gold Rush era.   These are the grandmother trees that have become climate resilient with no human attention for the last 100 years. They give the best fruit and nuts in conditions that most fruit and nut trees can not endure with large annual temperature variations. These  grandmother trees have learned to thrive under the most harsh conditions. We want to make them available to growers, gardeners and communities throughout the West Coast.

We have personally found these trees and have taken cuttings directly from the 100+ year old grandmother trees that still cling to life in ghostly, historic orchards. We offer very rare and exclusive plants – some may have only just been rediscovered.

95% of plants available during the 1800s are no longer available today.  We are saving what is left before they die. 

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Thanks to Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply (originally started by our founder Amigo Bob Cantisano), a collection of some of our favorite species and varieties will be available through Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden for the 2024/25 Bareroot Season. 

Stay Tuned…

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The SOLD OUT Varieties listed below are for informational purposes only. These are many of the plants we have found and sold over the years. While some of these varieties will be available this Autumn, many will not. 

Updates on what we have for sale this year will be available in October 2024.

Thank you for all your Support!

Orders only accepted via the website.

Care for the Historic Mother Orchard Repository - Donation of Any Amount

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Your Donation of any amount enables us to take good care of this historic repository of over 250 young trees.

The grandmother trees were discovered on Gold Rush Era Mining Camps, Ranches and Homesteads from the 1800s and were the best of their time.

As you can see these historic varieties are overgrown with blackberries and scotch broom. They need weeding and planting with low growing clover, a cover crop to help suppress weeds and gives nitrogen to the soil. They need compost and coddling moth prevention and the fruit needs picking.

Some of the treasures amid our historic collection are:

Apples * Pears * Walnuts * Persimmons * Figs * Almonds * Chestnuts * Cherries * Grapes * Prunes * Pomegranates * Quince * Peaches * Apricots * Mulberries * Roses * Hops * Myrtle * Cranberries and more.

As you may or may not know, Felix Gillet was the second nurseryman in the state of California. He arrived with other prospectors and soon saw the greater need for more food as the masses arrived in droves to find their fortunes. He earned enough money from his barber shop in Nevada City to purchase Barren Hill (called such because all the trees had been cutdown for use in the mining industry). There he started his nursery and began importing the best food plants of the time, first from France, but eventually from all over the world.

We, the Felix Gillet Institute, have been hunting for, discovering and growing these old varieties discovered on Gold Rush Era Mining Camps, Ranches and Homesteads where they have survived for nearly 150 years, some still bearing fruit!

These amazing trees show great resilience to climate change, making them valuable not only for their historic properties but also for food security.

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