Orchardist Andrew Rushmere talks about the simple joys of one of the world’s most popular fruits
Andrew Rushmere, perennials and biodiversity coordinator at UBC Farm and orchardist, talks about the simple joys of one of the world’s most popular fruits.
How many different types of apples are there?
At one time 15,000 known edible apples existed in the world, but a loss in genetic diversity has reduced the number to 7,500. Incredibly, the Heritage Orchard at UBC Farm holds one per cent of the entire world’s genetic pool of edible apples.
What should someone know before planting an apple tree?
Planting a seed from a specific apple, like a Granny Smith, won’t result in a Granny Smith apple tree. The tree would produce some other random variety of apples as a result of cross-pollination. To get the tree you know and love, you use grafting – an easy- branch-cutting technique that fuses a tree branch with rootstock.
What’s your favourite apple?
The Pitmaston Pineapple. You won’t find it at the grocery store, and it’s not big, glossy or smooth. The flavour will blow your mind. It’s yellow with brown spots and ugly by conventional standards, but it has a rich sweetness that will coat your mouth and has the aroma of a fine apple. Coming from this ugly looking thing, there’s a beauty in it that I appreciate.
UBC celebrates apples with two events on campus this weekend. The UBC Apple Festival will be hosted at UBC Botanical Garden on October 19-20. For more information, visit the UBC Botanical Garden website. The UBC Farm will host Heritage Orchard Tours at the Farm on Saturday, October 19. Find out more on the UBC Farm website.