Some eight hundred kinds of apples once enriched the kitchens, taverns and inns of New England, but most of these have already disappeared from the region’s cuisines. … [A]t least seventy of the heirloom apples unique to New England that remain are so infrequently featured in nurseries, farmers markets and roadside stands that they can be considered threatened or endangered.
That is Gary Paul Nabhan writing at the Island Press Eco-Compass blog (now on the blogroll). Here is Gary discussing potato diversity in Peru. Here is Paul Ehrlich expressing skepticism about the returns to specialization.