We all enjoy apples for attributes like great flavour, crunch and versatility. Have you ever wondered where apples come from?
Dr. David Maxwell had members and guests full attention as he described his passion to help ensure heritage varieties continue to grow and produce.
He guided us along explaining the botany and history, as well as the factors determining the ascendance and eclipse of particular cultivars using visual examples of treasured varieties, many that he grows.
Apples originated in Kazakhstan where they grow as small as grapes and as large as pumpkins. They need to be humanly grafted on suitable root stock to reproduce. There are more than 12000 named cultivars that have been selected for climate, purpose, season, keeping, disease resistance, resistance to shipping, taste and modern marketing. For example a recent cultivar, the Honey Crisps, were created by market demand for large size, sweetness, colourful appearance and, of course, crispness. We all have our personal preferences for eating and cooking and some were surprised to learn that Bramleys are the premier cooking apple of the world.
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After his informative presentation on the attributes of apples, Dr. Maxwell treated members to a variety of tastes of apples, apple crisp, apple sauce, apple jelly and apple cider. Members enthusiastically took up the challenge to discover which apple tastes they preferred, choosing from over 15 varieties.