Ye olde apples for all in Southland

21:38, Feb 17 2009
GARDEN OF ETON: Riverton man Robert Guyton checks a tree as part of a project to regenerate heritage apple orchards throughout Southland.

A project aimed at preserving Southland's heritage apple trees, all the while providing free fruit to the community, has been going great guns since its inception nine months ago.

The Open Orchard Project, started up by the Riverton-based South Coast Environment Society, began early last year after it became clear heritage apple tree orchards - orchards planted by early settlers or those which had been in a family for generations - were being decimated as land was cleared for farms.

Project co-ordinator Robert Guyton said the project had so far been extremely well received.

"We have been flat out since then with requests and people calling in with trees from their old orchards." Varieties received include some not-so-well-known varieties such as gloria mundi, monty's surprise and irish peach, rymer (believed to be extinct in Britain) and an ancient variety called keswick codlin.

Trees had been planted in publicly accessible locations throughout Southland, including at Aparima College and behind the Riverton Fire Brigade, and the aim was to have orchards planted right across the region, he said.

The project is gaining interest nationwide.

"(It's about) free access to fruit like it was in days gone by," he said.



The Southland Times