Apple Festival 2007 - Celebrating the Bounty of Mother Nature
Sunday, 30 September 2007
Highlights

Welcome to the delights of the 2007 Salt Spring Island Apple Festival.

Despite the weather dealing us a cool and wet day, 700 brave souls enjoyed the delights of Salt Spring apples.  A hurricane would not have kept them away.  Cool springtime weather also resulted in a poor pollination, so early apple varieties were scarce, but both farmer and consumer persevered. Apple Festival 2007 had fantastic tasting apples, and memorable apple experience.

The Salt Spring Apple Festival is all about apples, nothing else but apples. Be sure to enjoy the 10th Annual Salt Spring Island Apple Festival on 28 September 2008. Theme: Celebrating Red-flesh Apples

Salt Spring Island Apple Festival Website: http://www.saltspringmarket.com/apples/


Red-flesh Apples
photo by Jan Mangan

1) Tourism British Columbia selected the Salt Spring Apple Festival 2007 as one of the top 10 summer food and wine-related festivals in BC.

2) We were also listed in the publication of Green Festivals by David Kupfer.

3) Publications with articles or photos about the Salt Spring Apple Festival include Gardenwise Magazine, UP Magazine (inflight West Jet magazine), Harrowsmith, Boulevard Magazine and Monday Magazine.

4) The 2007 apple display featured 264 varieties of organically grown varieties from Salt Spring Island, displayed on 11 eight-foot tables at Fulford Hall. This collection is the heartbeat of the Apple Festival. On entering the hall, the sight and smell is overwhelming. We hope to have over 300 apple varieties at Apple Festival 2008.


Apple Collection 2007 at Fulford Hall
photo by Ron Watts

5)    The 350 apple varieties grown on Salt Spring Island make a statement of history and diversity, but it is also a statement about Salt Spring characters. Each grower has a slightly different focus in growing apples.           

• Bob Weeden (Whims Farm) grows about 138 varieties of apples focusing on heritage varieties (apple varieties from before 1900)

• Charlie & Brie Eagle (Bright Farm) grow about 250 varieties of apples, having adopted the Tsolum River Nursery collection of Rene Poisson from Courtenay. It is incredibly diverse.      

• Harry & Debbie Burton (Apple Luscious Organic Orchard) grow over 200 varieties of apples, featuring about 23 varieties of red-fleshed apples. Their criterion for selecting varieties is great taste.

• Mike & Marjorie Lane (Ruckle Farm) harvest the remaining 160 of the original 600 apple trees planted about 1880 by Henry Ruckle. This is a working farm on Ruckle Provincial Park.

• Ian Franey (Isabella Farm) grows 25 of the newer disease resistant apple varieties.

• Craig Leitch (Fern Creek Farm) grows 28 apple varieties established by the Hamiltons in 1897, including a unique Salt Spring variety called Millionaire (Wealthy X King).

• Ted & Bernie Dodds (Purdy-Inglin Farm) grow many apple varieties planted by their grandfather Purdy in the 1880’s.

• Chris Hadfield (Cusheon Cove Farm) grows about 80 apple varieties, all individually fences, so sheep can co-exist there.

• The Beddis Castle has apple varieties planted in 1885 by Samuel Beddis (brother in law of Mr. Purdy above).

6) At Fulford Hall, the Salt Spring Island Women's Institute sold about 99 apple pies of 12 varietes of apples. This is a great way to select your favourite cooking apple. Notice the apple aprons. It was actually the Women’s Institute that initiated the building of the first Fulford Hall in 1921. This year, we documented the team work involved in their baking efforts of the Women’s Institute.


Bev & Bev - Two of the Salt Spring Pie Ladies
photo by Ron Watts

7) You can also imagine the logistics of keeping the pie variety identified during the entire process from the peeling to the oven to the serving plate. You can see how these crafty women identify the apple variety when the pies are in the oven and refrigerator.


Labeled Apple Pies in the Refrigerator
photo by Jan Mangan

The Salt Spring Island Women's Institute Pie Ladies Production is quite legendary. And they always sell out, so don’t wait too long in the day to get your pie.

Pies Baked by the Women's Institute

year

Fall Fair

Apple Festival

2001

228

2002

260

34

2003

274

40

2004

278

50

2005

319

67

2006

368

74

2007

417

99

          

8) Four performers presented both historical reenactments and also comic relief. Bob Twaites, complete with German accent, performed a fantastic historical reenactments of Salt Spring pioneer, Theodore Trage, who in 1860 became the first apple grower on Salt Spring, eventually ending up with about 1000 apple trees. In the late 1800’s the CPR boat THE JOAN, made a regular stop at Trage’s wharf to load apples. After his talk, Bob gave out to kids, apples from Trage’s original trees.


Bob Twaites portraying Theodore Trage
photo by Rick Neufeld

9)    For some fabulous comic relief we were privileged to have the Queen aka Reid Collins who gave an inspiring address to the members of her commonwealth of 3rd world nations (Canada), declared the Apple Festival officially open and then as her final act, bestowed a knighthood on Theodore Trage.


The Queen (aka Reid Collins)
photo by Ron Watts

10) Briony Penn then reenacted her great-grandmother, water colour artist, Maud Bridgman, who lived on the Trage property until about 1930. See three of Maud’s original watercolours below.

11) Captain Apple, a local super hero, complete with apple cape, was the MC of the performance and a strong proponent of eating organic apples.

12) The Beddis Castle pressed 766 litres of juice on Festival day, from trees planted about 1885 by Samuel Beddis.

13) The historic Purdy-Inglin farm, first planted by Raffles Augustus Robert Purdy (brother-in-law of Samuel Beddis) about 1884, was pressing juice from his old trees, using his old apple press. Grandson, Ted Dodds, now 72, was using the Champion Cider Mill, made by London Foundry Company, purchased between 1908 and 1910, and shipped from London, England. The grinder was being run by an antique 3 HP Fairbanks Morris engine from Ted’s childhood 18 foot pleasure boat, estimated to have been built about 1920 This engine has open push rods so is quite an oddity. This juicing apparatus has been used in this way on the farm since 1954.


Apple Press

14) The Fulford Hall set up is a marvel to behold. The Apple Team of local volunteers gets together the night before the festival to set up the apple collection and decorate Fulford Hall. This dedicated team loves the event and are very proud of their apple heritage. Every apple is grown organically on Salt Spring. You can imagine the task of organizing 11 big boxes full of apple varieties in random order, 3 apples to a paper bag, with variety name on the outside of the paper bag. The challenge is to organize every apple variety (264 in 2007) in alphabetic order with a label. This takes 11 tables each 8 feet long, set up in a rectangle in the centre of the Fulford Hall. The Fulford collection is for viewing only. This is the place to really learn about the different varieties, in preparation for the visit to the 15 farms on the festival where you can get to taste most of these varieties.


On Saturday night, the volunteers start to alphabetize the apple display
photo by Jan Mangan

15) This is a close up a portion of the apple collection when complete.


A close up of the apple collection
photo by Rick Neufeld (www.noofoto.com)

16) The Saturday night volunteers do love their job, organizing the apple display, marveling at the diversity of apples and also enjoying some good food. Salt Springers love their apples. We also love it when visitors take delight in our apples. It is especially gratifying to us when we see young people involved.


A young volunteer helping set up the apple collection
photo by Jan Mangan

17) The other very valuable facet of the Salt Spring Island Apple Festival is the chance to taste over 200 varieties of apples on all the farms and really pick your favourite. Although early apple varieties were somewhat scarce in 2007, due to cool weather during early pollination, Apple Luscious Organic Orchard had 103 varieties for tasting. Notice the concentration below.


A young apple connoisseur tasting apples
photo by Jan Mangan

This is what is left after a successful tasting of a red flesh variety.


All that remains of red flesh apples after tasting
photo by Ron Watts

18) Six incredible photographers toured the site collecting images for the event. We were very lucky to have such talent, which resulted in an extensive documentation of the festival. Remember that all the hosts and people working at the festival do not get to see anything, so that these photographs are a way for them to see what they miss. Those who could not attend, can also enjoy a photo tour of the Festival.

19) This year we initiated a video documentary of the Apple Festival, by directing $600 towards local film maker, Cindy Jacobsen, hoping to help her come up with a winning film. We are still waiting to see the final result, but she did a very thorough job, even documenting the Women’s Institute ladies baking pies in the basement of Fulford Hall the day before Apple Festival. I believe she captured the real essence of the festival.

20) Ann Aylard and Michael Cowan of the BCFTA did a great job at the apple ID table. You can imagine how difficult this job is since apples can vary so much on a tree, depending on whether they grew on the sunny side or the shady side, depending on whether the tree was well nourished or not, and whether the apples were thinned; All in all, a very difficult job.

21) Bob and Verna Duncan of Fruit Trees and More in Sidney, BC, bring their expertise on fruit tree diseases, apple varieties, apple identification, sub tropical fruits and fruit tree propagation to the Apple Festival every year.

22)    Both locals and visitor enjoy the day, roaming the island, somewhat rushing to see everything, but enjoying the enchantment of the day. These apple connoisseurs become our best advertising tool - HAPPY CUSTOMERS. Apples seem to give everyone a playful spirit.


photo by Jan Mangan


Lionel
photo by Jan Mangan

23) The Apple Festival is pleased to direct most profits towards a fruit processing facility on Salt Spring. But it is also proud to direct money to other ventures which we label POSITIVE SPINOFFS.

Apple Festival Proceeds for 2007 – POSITIVE SPINOFFS ($2400 in 2007)

1) Cindy Jacobsen ($600 cash) as seed money to make a documentary video of the Salt Spring Island Apple Festival 2007.

2) Bursary of $500 towards agriculture education: Hannah Gummeson from GISS, going into a science program. (given in June 2008)

3) Thank a Salt Springer- about $400 to various individuals on Salt Spring to thank them in various ways for helping make this such a great island.

a. Ilyes Bouzziri ($100 cash for helping everyone whenever he gets a chance)

b.    Dan & Celeste Jason ($100 for work in agriculture, seed saving and yoga)

c.      Skye Wolfe ($100 cash for work with the local food bank)

d.    Jill Tarswell ($100 cash for support work with theatre on Salt Spring)

4)    Seeds for Malawi Project via Susan Evans - $500 cash to cover the education of 5 your girls in Malawi for one year.

5)    $500 towards creation of 2 more limited edition prints of the art of Maud Bridgman. This money covered the cost of printing in both paper and canvas, her painting View Towards Fulford Harbour (1931) and Paddling to Russel Island, all benefits going to Seeds for Malawi.

Rowing to Russel Island

View Towards Russel Island - 1921

Last year, we printed View Towards Russel Island, which shows the ocean just off the Bridgman property, looking southwest towards Russell Island and in the distance, Vancouver Island. This is at the bottom of Bridgman Road in the south of Salt Spring. It shows a few of the old Trage apple trees planted on Salt Spring after 1860 growing on the foreshore.


View Towards Fulford Harbour - 1933

Prints are sold for $150 each and can be view by contacting

Susan Evans (250-653-2007) or (susanevans@telus.net ). All money generated goes to the Seeds for Malawi Project.

The Art of Maud Bridgman (1868-1943)

Maud, who spent winters in Victoria and summers on Salt Spring would be delighted with these great spinoffs.

• her first exhibition since her death and the great response it got,

• her first limited edition 85 years after it was painted and

• her ability to help young girls in Malawi almost 62 years after her death. Now that is a great example of apples combined with art, reaching through time to help people half way around the world.

I will end on a humourous note, showing the great resilience of people.

Herb Burnet, recently retired Government Agent on Salt Spring, has consistently helped with the Apple Festival, by handling all money on the day of the festival. He would hand me a deposit slip after the event. WOW. What a great help.

He has recently suffered some health setbacks in which he became completely deaf, and so has had to give up the money job. Instead, he suggested that he become the new Complaint Department. We agreed. Now there is a real positive person with a great attitude. He still helps wherever he can. He is now a little like our government. He speaks but doesn’t hear a thing.

Herb was also recently nominated for volunteer of the year for the Salt Spring Island Fall Fair. Love it.

What a treasure of diversity is our beautiful Salt Spring Island. Apples are only one facet of that diversity, and you will discover many of the others during the Apple Festival.