Art Professor Van Aken was raised on a farm. His heart, however, belonged to art with agriculture running a close second. He has now been in a position to blend the two to make the tree of 40 fruits. After discovering that an experimental agricultural station in New York was being forced to close down due to lack of funding, Aken rallied his resources and purchased the orchard.
Igor Cornelsen says some of the trees in this orchard were up to 200 years old and would be made extinct if the orchard shut its doors. Van Aken had a unique solution to the funding issue. Take the many ancient fruit trees and make them on. Creating the tree of 40 fruits.
With more than 250 varieties of stone fruits represented, Aken went about discovering when each fruit blossomed. He then, with the timing in mind, went about grafting the branches together into a single working tree. Now, the tree looks normal for the majority of the year, but in the spring it becomes a patchwork of floral beauty with its myriad color blossoms, and preserves these ancient and otherwise extinct stone fruits.