to the spring issue of our Newsletter. We welcome feedback from
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The Apple Farm,
do apples come from?
The original apple forests of the world still exist today on the
slopes of Kazakhstan's Tian Shan or heavenly mountains. The city
of Alma-ata (meaning "father of apples") sits between
two rushing glacial streams which run from these mountains. This
city has been a trading centre on the silk route since the time
of Alexander the Great. As little as fifty years ago the deep
ravines and undulating hills behind the city were covered by
forests of wild apples and apricots. Green, red, orange, yellow
- rusty and smooth, large and sweet, small and bitter - apples
Because the apple has survived for so long on these slopes, and
because until recently it has been undisturbed by man, it has
retained a rich genetic diversity. The modern apples we find in
the shops represent but a tiny slice of all possible apples that
have existed in the world. They are the descendants of thousands
of years of selection by man for colour, size, shape and taste.
But they are also the chance descendants of the fruit and
seedlings carried by travellers of the Silk Route and wild birds
and animals that ate the fruit and spread the seed as it passed
through their digestive tracts. The apples that reached Persia,
Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean, and eventually central and
northern Europe contain less than 20 percent of the genetic
material found in these ancient Asian forests. Locked away in
the genetic codes of that other 80 percent are tantalising
apples of yet unknown taste. Apples of wonderful fragrance, rich
colours and unimaginable texture. Apples which could be the
basis of new untasted juices and ciders.
Hopefully these forests will be preserved for the benefit of
apple-eaters and growers everywhere.
All our fruit is now gone. The last eating apples (Gala) were
sold in early March, and the Bramley's finished soon thereafter.
We still have plenty of apple juice however, and our shop is
still open every day for anyone who wishes to get some. The
large bottles are £1.50 each or £16.00 for a case of 12 (£1.33