An apple a day keeps the doctor away
A pit stop while driving on a back country road a few years ago resulted in the surprise discovery of a huge, gnarled, old apple tree.
Research Director of the Heritage Food Crops Trust Mark Christensen was happily bowled over by the tasty, unique and versatile apples found growing on it.
After some initial testing, the tree’s ’’Monty’s Surprise’’ apples became a hit with everyone who tasted them. The apple is also the subject of extensive research by the Heritage Food Crops Trust, while colleagues overseas have conducted research using, not just the apples, but cider made from the apples.
Based in Whanganui, the trust conducts and coordinates research, which helps in the prevention and treatment of disease, establishing the medicinal properties of plants and their potential to heal and maintain health.
The trust believes that ‘‘the Monty’s Surprise apple variety contains a combination of phytonutrients that can work with the body’s immune system to prevent cancer cells in the body from becoming activated and initiating a disease process’’.
As part of the trust, Christensen has initiated the identification of Monty’s Surprise and now also the distribution of the apple trees throughout the Whanganui region and further afield - even to Australia and the USA.
The trust was not all about apples either. There was a project that imported ancient wheat varieties into the country, establishing a network of seed savers to grow the plants. A human trial will measure comparable symptoms of gluten intolerance and similar.
Heritage beans were being grown and researched, as were plums to find superior varieties for human health. Research with heritage tomatoes was looking at the best open-pollinated tomato varieties in the world for human health, particularly those highest in lycopene for cancer prevention.
Christensen will be speaking at a RECAP organised event in Ashhurst on Thursday, August 10 at 7pm in St Mary’s Church Hall on Cambridge Ave, with entry by koha.
Volunteers from Project Marton bag free Monty Surprise apple trees.