Giving the apple – and the bees that pollinate the trees – their due is largely what the Metchosin Apple Bee Festival is all about.
In its seventh year, this mostly annual community event aims to remind people about the value of the humble, yet versatile fruit and the insect that is critical to its continued pollination.
Among the educational aspects of Sunday’s (Oct. 4) festival is a presentation on the history of the apple in the area.
Bilston Farm in Metchosin was among the first places apples were cultivated in Canada west of the Hudson Bay, says Dan O’Connell, a member of the Metchosin Pomological Society and co-organizer of the festival.
“There’s some virtues (around the apple), like these heritage varieties, if they get taken away they won’t be seen again,” he says. “This is about giving a little bit of an anchor back to the apple and its presence.”
Through the day, presentations will be given on apples and bees, practical demonstrations will be given on juice making, pie making and apple mashing for cider, and of course, there’s the yummy applesauce tasting. Back again will be the apple-hurling trebuchets popular with the younger set.
Metchosin Farm’s Fiona Hamersley Chambers, who introduced a new apple developed locally last year, is said to be bringing another new variety this time around.
In preparation for the piemaking, Metchosin Pomological Society volunteers will be at Royal Bay Bakery on Saturday creating pie shells, with the idea of making things easier for festival goers to fill up their own pies on Sunday.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their own apples, especially the heritage varieties, for sharing and tasting.
Derek Wulff and fellow members of the Metchosin Beeranchers will be on hand talking about their craft, including doing honey extraction, and a demonstration hive will be open for visitors to see bees in action.
The Apple Bee Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grounds of the Metchosin Community House. The weekly Farmer’s Market is on at the same time.
While the event is free to attend, proceeds from sales of pies and other items will go toward the Metchosin Foundation.