We’re growing a large number of heritage apple varieties. The reason we’re attracted to these older varieties is simple: They were selected for when flavour was paramount, and supermarket shine unnecessary. We think the quality of the apple is far more important than how pretty it’s skin, and we hope you agree with us. In addition, many of these varieties were selected for before fungicides were in common use. This means that rather than requiring the chemicals of modern agriculture, they produce delicious apples with phenomenal flavour, despite organic growing methods.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it. And it is, in theory. But we’ve been lucky enough to use the work of many other pioneers before us. Michael Phillips in his book ‘The Apple Grower’ spends a lot of time discussing how best to have healthy trees that are therefore strong enough to fight of disease. I’d highly recommend a read even for a pasisonate home gardener.
We also couldn’t have chosen our varieties without the help of Chris and Michelle at Kalangadoo Organic. If you’re ever around their area (near Mt Gambier) I highly recommend their delicious apple juice, vinegar, and of course, their fresh fruit. They have a test orchard with over 80 different heirloom apple varieties. Now, they are organic everywhere in their property, but in this test section they don’t spray at all, even the copper and sulphur that are allowable organic fungicides. And over a number of years they’ve tracked the effects on the varieties of black spot. It’s an incredible initiative, and one that they’ve generously shared information on.
Not only that, they allowed us to gather scion wood from their orchard, so that we could be sure we were using the same clone of the same variety. Now, we live in a different area, and have different soils and rainfalls, so not everyone of these varieties will perform in the same way. But Kalangadoo Organics have given us a fantastic starting point, and we plan to make the most of it.