Amigo Bob Cantisano and his partners believe these chestnuts come from a Marron de Lyon tree, originally from France. He thinks the tree was one of many varieties of fruit, grape and nut plants introduced into California by Felix Gillet, a French nurseryman, in the late 1800s.
In California’s Nevada County, an unusual explorer with an unusual name — Amigo Bob Cantisano — hunts for remnants of the Gold Rush, just not the kind you might expect.
The treasures Cantisano seeks are trees: the fruits and nuts planted at homesteads and stagecoach stops in the late 1800s. Despite decades of neglect, many are still highly productiv…