Corker of a cooking apple
It weighs over half a kilogram and it will make six apple pies when it finally gets sliced up.
A Gravenstein apple grown by Jill and Evan Hankey of Lumsden, in Northern Southland, could be one for the record books.
Weighing in at 640g (or 1lb 10ozs), the huge apple hasn’t fallen far from a heritage tree with a bit of a story to tell.
Evan said Gravenstein apples seem to have a survival instinct and the apple they’ve grown this season, one of a super-sized crop, is testament to this - the tree it was on has had three different homes.
‘‘I was driving up a side road in the country at the back of Waikaka and noticed an apple tree with a good crop on it and saw some seedlings growing underneath.’’
‘‘I went back in the winter, which is the best time for transplanting, dug two seedlings up, brought them home and planted them at our property on Meadow St.’’
The seedlings thrived and grew well there for 10 years, producing good crops each year, but it wasn’t their final home.
They sold their property and moved to Cover St in Lumsden, and the trees went with them.
‘‘We took cuttings as well as transplanting the original trees and amazingly they have survived the two shifts and are doing well, producing this very large apple this year along with many others of similar size.
‘‘The trees have been established at Cover St now for 12 years but it has been a great year for apples this year.’’
Gravenstein apples are not available commercially in New Zealand, but in Austria they are used for the production of high-quality brandy.
The variety is widely grown in the northern hemisphere, especially in Canada and California.
It is also thriving in the Hankey’s back yard.
‘‘Our property is organic and we see no need for sprays,’’ Jill said.
The Hankeys could be eating apple pie for a while.
The apple has a very small core area to be cut out and would then make six apple pies, or one large family-sized pie, she estimated.
‘‘The Gravenstein are great cooking apples, going all fluffy with cooking, they don’t need added sugar and I use them for apple pies, apple crumble and shortcake as well as bottling and freezing them.’’