WITH a strong focus on schoolchildren the Orange Apple Festival is aimed at educating young people about the apple industry in Orange and district and the importance of including apples as part of a healthy diet.
Orange orchardist Max Davidson who has been producing apples on the family orchard for 56 years visits schools during the festival along with chefs, cooks and other producers to give children an insight into the industry, which many years ago had 400 orchards set up in the area.
“Now we are down to about 40,” he said.
Last year during the festival Mr Davidson visited Orange Bletchington School to talk to students, and is looking forward to a hosting a group of students from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School to show them first-hand how a working orchard operates.
Festival co-ordinator Cath Thompson said this year the festival will repeat the Big Crunch at schools.
“At a certain time and at a number of schools all the children will bite down on their apple at the same time - its lots of fun and its part of the education process for children,” she said.
When the children visit Mr Davidson’s Hillside Orchard they will see a range of apple varieties from delicious, to bonza, pink lady and Granny Smiths.
“I have to say the fuji is my favourite but it is a variety that only comes on well every second year.
“But this year it has been virtually non-existent,” he said.
The festival will begin on Friday, May 9 with a dress-up day and apple-related art at schools, the Big Crunch, an apple pie drive, visits from growers to school and an education session Get the Juice at Appledale juice production facility.
On the Saturday Orange Region Farmers’ Market will work around the apple theme with cooking classes, apple bobbing, apple cider tasting and high tea.
There will also be an orchard and packing shed tour scheduled for the same day. On the final day of the festival on May 11 people are invited to visit hotels, and cellar doors to taste cider or perhaps enjoy an apple martini on the edge of Lake Canobolas.