Ah, the apple. A simple-looking fruit, yes, but beneath its skin is a history that would put other fruits to shame (I mean, there’s a kinda big company named after it). It's no wonder that UBC is home to one of the biggest fruit-related festivals you’ll ever see: the UBC Apple Festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary on October 15 and 16.
So, what does one find at an apple festival? I headed over to the Botanical Gardens to find out. Despite arriving late in the afternoon in the pouring rain, there were still dozens of attendees milling about. I paid my $5 admission and headed in.
Music, food carts, and of course, lots of apples were in store. I headed over to the apple sales, where boxes upon boxes of apples were neatly stacked on tables. Laminated signs described the various apples for sale in fancy terms like “intense honeyed flavour”, which were quite helpful for a newbie apple appreciator like me. For those who preferred to use their mouth instead of their eyes, volunteers were stationed around the area cutting up apples for sampling.
As expected, the types of apples for sale were astonishing, many with exotic-sounding names like Northern Spy, Senshu, and Glockenapfel. In all, the festival had over 36,000 pounds of the fruit shipped in from growers all over BC, and for added variety, fresh pears, apple cider, and apple chips were also being sold.
Despite having probably seen more apples in 15 minutes than I’d ever eaten in my lifetime, there were more apples to be seen. The BC Fruit Testers Association took over an entire reception hall with the “Best Apple Display in Canada”, where they displayed apples of all colours and answered questions from curious visitors about pomology (that’s the study of apples).
I found out later that the festival also had a tasting tent, (where individual apples could be bought for a dollar each), food fair, and a children’s area on the other side of the garden. Something to look forward to for next year!