Monty’s Surprise

Morning tea with the volunteers at Te Puna Quarry Park on their Tuesday work day is always fun (even if I do feel guilty because I’m not out there weeding, chopping and tending too).

Today Shirley and Ray Alderson brought one of their Monty’s Surprise apples with them, passed round to much admiration. And no wonder – it weighed 880g and they’ve had 20 or so apples off their espaliered tree this year, the smallest weighing 460g.

Ray Alderson with his 880g Monty’s Surprise apple. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Shirley says they’re too big for eating, even between two people, so she’s cooked most of them and found it a “fabulous” cooking apple, “a bit like a Granny Smith”.

They took the tree over from a friend 2 years ago and it was about 2 years old then. The couple, who live in Bethlehem, trained it along a fence as a space-saving measure. See some step-by-step instructions for espaliering an apple tree here.

Monty’s Surprise was found on a roadside in the Wanganui area by Mark Christensen, a member of the Central Tree Crops Trust, and has been scientifically proven to have anti-cancer properties.

If you’d like to join the happy band of volunteers at the park, turn up on a Tuesday at 9am, bringing along some garden tools and morning tea. For more information phone Jo Dawkins, 552 5789.

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