This October, thousands of people will descend upon UBC Botanical Garden for two days of family fun, live music and, above all, enjoying delicious apples! The annual Apple Festival is back on October 14 and 15, and we asked Friend of the Garden and apple buyer Margaret Butschler for her essential tips to making the most out of the event.
Sure to Sell Out
Certain apple varieties sold out very quickly last year, and probably will once again this October. “Aurora Golden Gala, a cross of Splendour and Gala that was developed in Summerland, BC, was a big seller in 2016 as it is extremely crisp and juicy,” says Margaret. “Because our guests know that it keeps well in their fruit crisper until the New Year, they purchased over 1,600 pounds on the first day of the Festival. The newly released Salish apple, a big seller, was also developed in Summerland and is not yet readily available in grocery stores. In addition, tried and true Honeycrisp and Ambrosia are always a favoured fruit.”
Tip: Don’t forget to check out the Tasting Tent for some rare varieties that are only available there!
Margaret’s Guide to Favourite Apples
Margaret picked out the following as perennial Apple Festival favourites:
Cox’s Orange Pippin: “a crisp and aromatic apple, sweet, yet slightly acid, loved by those who know it from the UK”
Ambrosia: “a honey-flavoured, crispy, medium-sized apple that keeps its colour in salad and when sliced for lunch-boxes”
Belle de Boskoop: “richly flavoured for pies and tarts”
Aurora Golden Gala: “has a sweet, light flavor and is crisp and juicy”
Salish: “the new star of BC apples, has a cherry-red blush over yellow and stores very well for months
Topaz: “has cream-coloured flesh with a refreshing, sweet flavor”
Glockenapfel: “for those who want a tart apple that holds its shape well in strudel”
The Early Bird Catches the Worm
“For enthusiasts who want some of the best selection, I suggest that people arrive as early as possible on Saturday morning,” says Margaret. “Get Tasting Tent tickets for the first tasting and then come down to the buying plaza to pick up your treasured fruit. Your apples then can go into a holding area, leaving you to enjoy the entire festival: music, children’s activities, craft boutiques, demonstrations and food.”
The Apple Festival takes place on October 14 & 15 from 11 am – 4 pm, rain or shine! Margaret’s favourite part of the two days is seeing people “leave with an armload of apples and pears, smiles on their faces and love for the apples available in British Columbia.” With these tips, you might just have one of the biggest smiles on that weekend!