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Taste the first apple picked in South Africa, 359 years ago
Tru-Cape’s Heritage Orchard Open Day happens only once a year and it’s free
For the first time in eons, you have the chance to get a taste of the very first apple picked in the Company’s Garden in Cape Town on April 17, 1662.
That’s the first apple picked in South Africa, and you can taste it on 20 February 2021, where it is bearing fruit in the Tru-Cape Heritage Orchard at Oak Valley. Entry is free, and the morning session is already fully booked!
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
“There was no record of apples in South Africa before the Dutch. It is believed they brought them in trees in barrels on ships,” says Brian Berkman, media and public relations at Tru Cape.
The Witte Wijnappel was the first recorded apple picked on April 17, 1662 in the Company Gardens, which was planted to supply fresh produce to the ships on their way around the Cape. “The Company’s Garden is understood to be the first formalised planted garden in the country,” says Brian.
GROWING ON SOUTH AFRICAN SOIL AGAIN
The lost variety of the Witte Wijnappel, which was was used to make apple wine in earlier times, is growing again, thanks to Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, a leading fruit distributor and marketer, and Hortgro, who is the South African deciduous fruit industry’s knowledge partner.
This is a once-a year event. The Heritage Orchard is only open to the public once a year, entry is free and the day is also an opportunity to see and taste varieties that are no longer in commercial production.
BOOK YOUR FREE TICKET
You’ll be able to pick and taste the apples yourself guided by either Buks Nel or Henk Griessel, who co-authored a book on historic apple varieties, Apples in the early days at the Cape, available to but at the open day and from Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing at R300 a copy.
There are two sessions on Saturday, February 20. The first session, at 10am to 12pm, is now fully booked. Total numbers are limited to 20 people per session to allow for social distancing.
Book your space for the second session from 12pm to 2pm from Quicket.
WHAT ELSE TO DO WHILE IN ELGIN
People of all ages are welcome to taste and pick apples, but if you find that your young children are bored, take them to the Elgin Railway Market later, a very popular market among locals and visitors. The market is situated about 1km from the gates of the Oak Valley Estate.
By Simone Strydom
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