On their small plot on the top of a hill in Ōhau, Linda Stopforth and partner Ray Yates have planted scores of fruit trees, from almonds to elderflower, olives, to figs, apricots, to pears, and peaches. They have been collecting heirloom trees for years and decided to make apples a priority.
They already have 22 varieties of apples, including old varieties that came to Aotearoa 150 years or more ago and somehow survived, somewhere in the country. “We have some cider apples, as well as baking apples. I took a list of what I wanted to Watson’s Garden Centre in Ōtaki and they managed to get most of them.”
A lot of their other heirloom trees come from specialist nurseries, some through mail order, some by them travelling around the country visiting growers and nurseries. “Other tree croppers have given us cuttings too.”