Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association

FRUIT GROWERS FESTIVAL, EDMONTON

December 9, 1999

 

B. Boyer

 

The Fruit Growers Festival was held at Devonian Botanical Gardens on Sept 11 and 12. Devon is on the outskirts of Edmonton, Alberta. Clair Lammers and I attended from Alaska. On Saturday from 9 to 11 AM, we set up our fruit displays. Clair didn’t take any fruit this year. I took Parkland, Carroll, Collet, Mantet, Liberty, Wynocheee Early, Joyce and 15th. Only Parkland and Mantet were ripe. (As of this writing on Oct 6, my Wynochee Early, Joyce and Liberty are not ripe).

 

At 11 o’clock, a meeting was held talking about “Apple notes” and how it would be continued. Then we were served lunch. From 1 -4 PM the following sessions were held:

 

  • Fertility of Soils – Dr. I. R. Evans
  • Nuts for the Prairies – Jim Coults from Unity, Saskatchewan
  • Processing Fruits (apples) – Garry Wetanko
  • Saskatoons – Thean Pheh

 

Following this, we had a blind wine tasting of home made wines. I think that Clair Lammer’s Apple Dew came in first. This was followed by a pot luck dinner.

Sunday was Public Day at the Devonian Gardens. We got to taste each other’s fruits as did the public. I would guess that there were 250 to 300 people who came through the exhibit. Growers had plums, apples, cherries (Evans variety was most prevalent) and pears. There were many apple varieties that we don’t have here. A number of the growers are crossing their own varieties plus some of them are test-growing for Saskatoon Experimental Station. These varieties are not released yet.

Varieties not released yet include Prairie Sun, (18-10-32) very good, 18-8-9. Other varieties you probably can’t find here are P3, Marshall, Mazur 1, Mazur 2. Praire Moon, Coults 294, 298, 163, 291, 287, Diebel, Pink Crisp, Prolific, Fence, Skiba, McPhee #1 and many more.

There is no charge for the festival. In fact they are glad that we attended. I stayed at the LeDuc Motor Inn, near the airport, and rode with Clair to the Botanical Gardens each day. Clair spent a couple of days before the festival with Bernie Nikolai, and we visited his test orchard.