30 September - 1 October 2023
Some Interesting Apples Taste Trial 2023
Saturday 30 September
11am – 3pm
Including simple lunch (bread & soup)
Continuing the success of the previous two iterations, Kestle Barton is pleased to host the 2023 Some Interesting Apples pomological exhibition and taste trials – led by William Arnold and James Fergusson.
This year, for the first time, the trial will be open to a small number of participants, who will have the opportunity to personally engage with the apple submissions and give discerning thoughts and feedback.
As a participant, you will be guided through a taste trial of selected fruit and have the chance to rate your findings. You will also be invited to take part in discussing the process with the project leaders and the other participants, and to collectively ponder the possible relevance of these fruits. Your participation will contribute to the ongoing ideological development of the project and your findings will be lodged in the trial archive.
The session will involve tasting many apples in this manner, before enjoying lunch together – complete with drinks made from local apples.
There are limited spaces available for this unique apple experience.
About the project:
This is a project co-founded by William Arnold and James Fergusson, the primary aim of which is to record and preserve wilding apples, like the Malus domestica that grows on its own roots as the result of a discarded core. Having grown and often thrived in seemingly unfavourable circumstances these trees could present valuable opportunities to propagate hardy novel cultivars, something of ever increasing relevance in an erratic climate.
The project has focussed primarily on central and west Cornwall, where James and William with a little help from others have recorded over 330 trees and therefore over 330 novel varieties of apple. Many of these have been subject to public taste trials at Kestle Barton. Click here for more information
Public donations of fruit – strictly those grown from accidental seedlings NOT orchard apples – geotagged via ///what.three.words are highly encouraged. For details of how to submit please contact Kestle Barton.
Photograph by William Arnold. Commissioned by Hereford Cider Museum Trust for the Apples & People exhibition programme 2022
An apple grown from the seed of an open pollinated fruit will, while perhaps inheriting the characteristics of its parents, always create a variety distinct from either. The Malus genome is larger than that of humans and sometimes the seedlings can be radically different. As a reasonably guilt-free discard from a car or train window these feral seedlings of Malus domestica proliferate, perhaps catching our eye in a flash of May blossom or viewed laden with fruit by a stretch of railway track on a drab October schedule delay.
There is an incredible gene pool of apples adapting to local conditions in hedgerows across the country. A lot of these will be of limited utility, and many of course will be seedlings of Golden Delicious or Gala etc, but some will have desirable characteristics, in terms of flavour and resistance to diseases and the vagaries of climate.
In the context of the climate emergency and the ‘global weirding’ of weather systems this ability to adapt and thrive in a range of situations perhpas makes Malus an important species within potential robust novel ecosystems and as ongoing food resource.
To propagate known varieties of apple, a new tree must be grafted from existing material of the variety onto a rootstock with known characteristics, a long-term commitment to preservation generally considered worthwhile only where the variety has strong commercial prospects. In 1990 Common Ground instigated the first Apple Day to promote the ‘local distinctiveness’ and value to landscape histories of the wealth of varieties largely ignored in favour of a few super-market friendly strains.
Building on the now well-known apple day theme and the work of wild apple collectors such as Matt Kaminsky AKA Gnarly Pippins in the USA, through the form of physical exhibition, photographic typology and preservation through grafting, Some Interesting Apples shifts the focus toward those wild seedlings to which comparatively little attention has been given and their potential for future usefulness.