Apple Festival 2008 - Red Flesh Apples - The Apples of the Future
Sunday, 28 September 2008 - 10th Annual

The sun shone, the weather was fabulous and over 1500 happy apple lovers blissfully explored EVERYTHING APPLE during our 10th Annual Apple Festival on Salt Spring Island, BC. What a beautiful atmosphere is created when that many happy people explore our island. Apples might be the secret to WORLD PEACE. Fortunately we had seven incredible photographers recording the event, so we have lots of photos to show you.

Fulford Hall Sights

Fulford Hall on Festival Day
photo by Ron Watts

1) The Apple Festival starting point is Fulford Hall where the center of focus is the apple collection. This year we broke the 300 barrier for the first time,displaying a total of 308 apple varieties, all grown organically on Salt Spring. This collection shown above makes you marvel at Mother Nature and her diversity. Each variety has a label, which describes the variety and shows which farm(s) grows it.
The photo below shows a special apple variety in the Fulford Hall display, in this case, Maiden’s Blush. The photo below shows:
• Variety description (white), plus, prizes from the Salt Spring Fall Fair
• 1st place in Early Apple Category (turquoise) plus
• Best Plate of Apples in the Fair (green)
• The yellow sticker also shows that this apple variety is grown by CE (Charlie & Bree Eagle at Bright Farm); the red sticker = Whims Farm by Bob Weeden

Best Plate/First Prize - Fall Fair
photo by Rick Neufeld

2) This year the Theme of the 2008 Apple Festival was:

                   Red Flesh Apples – The Apples of the Future

Three of the best red flesh apples are (from the left), Hansons Red Flesh (a crab), Hidden Rose and Pink Pearmain. They taste as good as they look. There is always a gasp when someone bites into these great apples. Kids to grandparents eat these down to the core.

Red Flesh Apples
photos by Ron Watts

3) The Women’s Institute Pie Ladies

Pie Ladies Pies
photo by Rick Neufeld

At Fulford Hall, the Salt Spring Island Women's Institute sold 139 apple pies of 15 varieties of apples (as labels above show). This is a photo under their serving table. Tasting is the best way to select your favourite cooking apple. Notice the apple aprons, also. It was actually the Women’s Institute that initiated the building of the first Fulford Hall in 1921.

You can also imagine the logistics of keeping the pie apple variety identified during the entire process from the peeling to the oven to the serving plate. 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


Fall Fair

Apple Festival
























4) Local actors portrayed Photo 1 - Theodore Trage (1835-1902) who grew 1000 apple trees on Salt Spring starting in 1860; Photo 2 - Albert Etter, a California apple breeder who in the 1930’s created over 30 red flesh apple varieties; Photo 3 – THE QUEEN, who addressed her subjects and then knighted Theodore. Photo 4 –Captain Apple, our local superhero, was MC.

Local Actors
photos by Ron Watts

5) APPLES TRANSEND CULTURE: Not only does music travel around the world without any barriers but it has the power to connect people. Farmers and foods from other countries also have a way of connecting with people from all cultures.
Illyes Bouziri, a local SSI chef, originally from Tunisia, was mentioning a saying about APPLES in Arabic (his native language). He then translated it into French (the second language in Tunisia), and then into English. That gem of wisdom stated:

                   The Fragrance of an Apple Reinvigorates the Soul

It was incredible to hear Illyes say the expression in Arabic, then French and then English. Here was an idea, initiated by apples, traveling across three cultures and emerging virtually identical. Thank you Illyes. This poster, shown below, was posted on the wall at Fulford Hall during the Apple Festival.

Apples Transcend Culture
photo by Jan Mangan

6) We were lucky to be able to find and display at Fulford Hall, the original Cory Menhinick apple press used in the 1920’s. It is reputed that Cory made the best cider on Salt Spring. Lotus Ruckle, who is now 98 (in 2009), used to load the apples into the hopper, while her step-father, Cory Menhinick would turn the grinder by hand and then turned the screw of the press into one of the two 12 diameter cages to force out the juice. For cider, juice was fed into rows of oak barrels. Cory used about 20 oak barrels for his cider. Cory knew that his Gravenstein apples made the best cider. Cider sold for 75 cents a gallon and was the main farm income in the 1920’s, helping to keep food on the table of many farms. The photo on the right shows Lotus’s two brothers in front of the Cory’s log cider house.

Old Apple Press used by Cory Menhinick on Salt Spring in the 1920’s
photo by Jan Mangan

7) Problems and Conditions Associated with Apples

Problems and Conditions Associated with Apples
photo by Rick Neufeld

                   Sights from the 15 Farms on the Apple Festival Tour

7) APPLE TASTING - At Fulford Hall, the apple display is for viewing only. However all the tasting happens on the 15 different HOST farms. The photo below shows the 120 or so varieties of apples for tasting at Apple Luscious Organic Orchard. Tasting is how you really get to pick out your FAVOURITE APPLE. Each farm will highlight their own varieties. Note: THIS TASTING ONLY INDICATES THE BEST EATING APPLE AT THAT DATE. It does not tell you what is a good early or late eating apple.

Apple Luscious Orchard During the Festival
photo by Ron Watts

Low Level View of the Tasting Table at Apple Luscious Organic Orchard
photo by Linda Matteson Reynolds

8) Honey Crisp (created in Minnesota) is one of the newer Varieties that is very popular.

Honey Crisp Apples
photo by Linda Matteson Reynolds

9) The historic Purdy-Inglin farm, first planted by Raffles Augustus Robert about 1884, was pressing juice from those old trees, using his old apple press. Grandson, Ted Dodds (shown below), now 72, was using the Champion Cider Mill, made by London Foundry Company, purchased about 1908, and shipped from London, England.

Historic Apple Press
photo by Karen Hosie

The apple 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 by Ted in this way on the farm since 1954. This was juice that kept the pioneer islanders strong and that also was made into some of the finest ciders. During the 1920’s, apple cider sold for about 75 cents per gallon and was the main farm income that kept food on the table of this and other farms.

Historic Apple Press
photo by Karen Hosie

10) We were lucky to have chef Bruce Woods cooking up cheese-blackberry-apple treats at Apple Luscious during the Apple Festival. People loved tasting the delicious treats he was handing out. Bruce was so enthused about this experience, that he already has booked his space for Apple Festival 2009. Working in the outdoors, with an enthusiast audience, within arms reach of fresh fruit, caused an idea to settle in Bruce’s head that day. He immediately went back to the restaurant where he was the chef, quit that job and decided to open up his own small restaurant/take out locations, called Bruce’s Kitchen in Ganges.

Cooking with Apples
photo by Julia Smolka

Apple Treats
photo by Jan Mangan

                   Things that make the Salt Spring Island Apple Festival
                   SOOOOO UNIQUE

11) As you try to get to most of the 15 farms on the Apple Festival tour, just about anything can happen. For example, at Ruckle Farm, just next to the barn and orchard, their flock of heritage turkeys, created a traffic jam. They stood in the middle of the road, stopping traffic in both directions and had to be escorted off the road by Ron Bellows. They put on quite a display of tail feathers. Where else but Salt Spring would you get a Turkey Traffic Jam?

Turkey Traffic Jam
photo by Derrick Lundy

The above turkeys are free ranging on Ruckle Farm and have a very idyllic life until Christmas or Easter rolls around.

12) We were also delighted to feature The Salt Spring Island 4H Community Club, set up outside the Fulford Hall displaying their Poultry, Rabbits and Blacksmithing Projects to the public. Their animals were all in cages, although the kids love to hold the animals so the animals get quite used to it. They also had a few young turkeys there. This is a great opportunity to see a wide varieties of chickens and rabbits, to get close up to the animals and to ask the kids lots of questions about their animals. Part of the 4H training is to make public presentations, so this is a perfect opportunity for the kids to interact with the public. On display will be varieties of chickens that you have never seen before and can’t even imagine as being real.

13) At Cusheon Cove Farm & Park with host Chris Hadfield
This 100-acre oceanfront orchard was donated/sold to BC Parks in 2006 as a addition to Ruckle Park. It addition to the heritage orchard, the 100 young four-year old apple trees (80 varieties) are individually fenced so that sheep are free to roam through the orchard. Chris is also delighted to show you his Chinese artifacts from an old Chinese dump, used by labourers from the 1905-1931 Allison-Bulman lumber mill on this site.

Chinese Pottery at Cusheon Cove
photo by Ron Watts

As if the ocean, the orchard, the Chinese artifacts weren’t enough, on that day, Oona McOuat ( was playing some beautiful harp music.

Oona McOuat Plays her Harp at Cusheon Cove
photo by Ron Watts

14) Apple Education

Apple Education
photo by Ron Watts

We always like to make the Apple Festival educational. On the left are samples of the damage that pileated woodpeckers do to apples. They make a small cylindrical hole in the top side of the fruit, all the while making their shrill call. I can tell when they are eating my apples, just from their enthusiastic sound. Amazingly enough, these birds have incredible taste. They always pick the best tasting apple varieties, in this case, Red Gravenstein. They are one of our taste testers. On the right, is a display of the wide diversity of size and shape that one Red Gravenstein tree produces. This diversity is one reason that Red Gravenstein is not sold commercially. Too much variability for large scale producers to deal with even though Gravenstein has incredible taste.

15)  Shovels I Have Known

Shovels I Have Known
photo by Shirley Bellows

16) The 2009 Salt Spring Island Apple Festival – Sunday, Oct 4, 2009

Bob Weeden in his Orchard
photo by Ron Watts

Bob Weeden, our local heritage apple grower and apple ID expert is shown here with his Glory of Boskoop apple variety. Bob only grows heritage apple varieties, 138 in total. Heritage varieties were in existence before 1900 and were all created by Mother Nature as chance seedlings, grown from seed. The great tasting trees were looked after and grafted so that they were available for others and for the future. Any seedling apple trees which were not good tasting were left to die out. This is almost like Natural Selection, except it is more Human Selection. Someone found the apple tree, liked the taste and then gave the tree a name. Johnny Appleseed and everyone planting seeds in the 1800’s, were responsible for creating such a great number of apple varieties of apples discovered in the USA. The more you plant, the more good ones will result.

At Apple Festival 2005, we were thrilled to have Johnny Appleseed arrive and address the crowd. The presence of so many incredible organic apples brought him back from the dead. He was in fine form, giddy at the sight of so many apples.

We have contacted Johnny Appleseed in the spirit world and he has promised to come back again in 2009. So at Fulford Hall, about 10:30 AM, on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2009, we will get to hear the real Johnny Appleseed and listen to his wisdom and foresight. He is an enthusiastic apple philosopher.

Johnny Appleseed will be at Apple Festival 2009
photo by Derrick Lundy

17) Observe the Animals

After a dry spell, the bees were hungry and thirsty. They gathered on the sweetest apples in the tasting display. Akane, Chehalis, Watermelon, Tsugaru and Holstein proved to be their choice on Apple Festival Day. They were quite a nuisance, but they are just doing what comes naturally - surviving. We monitor their choice of apples as indicators. I take it as a compliment that they like our apples.

Bees Pick Sweet Apples
photo by Julia Smolka

18) Apple Whimsy - Apple Festival Day brings out the playfulness in all photographers

Apple Whimsy
photo by Jan Mangan

Apples SML
photo by Jan Mangan

19) 70 Apple lovers from Washington State come to the Apple Festival on the Glacier Spirit from Port Townsend, Washington
Seventy very active and very dedicated apple lovers from The North Olympic Fruit Club (NOFC) and it’s parent group, the Western Cascade Fruit Society (WCFS), returned to the Salt Spring Apple Festival in 2008. These people had to drive to get to Port Townsend by 5:30 AM, at which time they departed for Salt Spring. Breakfast was served on the boat. Arrival on Salt Spring was about 9:30 AM after clearing customs in Sidney. They were met by Salt Springer drivers who chauffeured them around for a day of apple orchards, lunch by Daphne at Beaver Point Hall, cheese sampling and wine tasting. When the boat departed at 4:30 PM, I am sure many tired people snoozed on the way home, with a full stomach and a big smile on their face. What an incredible effort these people demonstrated in their trip to Salt Spring. It was not an easy journey. Thanks to Judi Stewart for a well organized trip.

Glacier Spirit from Port Townsend, Washington docked at Fulford Harbour
photo by Ellie Parks

20) Mark on Your Calendar for 2009

The 11th Annual Salt Spring Island (BC) Apple Festival

Theme: Celebrating Heritage Apples - Travel Back in Time
Growing over 350 varieties of apples organically.

Sunday, Oct 4, 2009

A chance to visit Apple Heaven while still on earth!

                   See Past Apple Festival Highlights at:

21) Thanks to Our Great Photographic Team

These seven incredible photographers and one videographer, not only do a fabulous job of documenting the Apple Festival, but they do it through their eyes. So we ended up with a treasure chest of 975 images and one hour of video that we love to share with others. The photos are exciting to see and are very valuable to:
• People who have never been to our Apple Festival and wish to know what the festival entails.
• People who attended, but did not get to see everything.
• The apple growers and others working at the Apple Festival as they never get to see what happens at Fulford Hall or any other farms.
• The Apple Festival organizers who also don’t get to see what is happening at all the other host farms. It is all great feedback.

In random order, here are the photographers.

a) Rick Neufield Photography
More Apple Festival photos at
Rick has a great website where he posts a photo a day from Salt Spring

b) Ron Watts Photography
Ron works freelance for Beautiful BC, Westworld and many other publications specializing in travel photography. He just got back from one month in Turkey.

c) Derrick Lundy Photography
Derrick did a photo shoot for the Vancouver Sun (Friday, Sept 19, 2008) on red-fleshed apples grown at Apple Luscious Organic Orchard. Many of those photos are shown on his website. He works for the Driftwood, our weekly newspaper as well as being a fine stonemason.

e) Linda Matteson Reynolds is a very busy photographer on Salt Spring, with a great website.

f) Jan Mangan jmangan@got.neth who also photographed the 2008 Bioneers Conference in October 2008 in Petaluma California also creates great people photos.

g) Karen Hosie does lots of fabulous photography and is involved with many local projects.

h) Julia Smolka has a great eye for beauty and a real passion for photography.

i) Ellie Parks besides helping with the Apple Festival (Ellie coordinated chauffeurs for the 70 visitors that came by boat from Port Townsend), she also did some great photography for us. See her photos on the site below.

j) Cindy Jacobsen is our videographer. She has obtained some great Apple Festival video footage over year years and we are urging her to put together an hour documentary on Salt Spring apples and the Apple Festival.

(Harry Burton can connect you with any of these photographers if there is no contact info for them).

We will see you in Apple Heaven
on Sunday, October 4, 2009.