It’s apple heaven, according to Harry Burton.
“It’s the best festival in Canada.”
The organizer of Salt Spring Island Apple Festival claims the annual event, which showcases hundreds of varieties of apples, as well as juices, ciders and foods, is the best place in Canada to see and taste apples.
This year’s festival marks the 20th year for the event. Burton, who owns Apple Luscious Organic Orchard, one of the festival’s participants, said he expects the celebration to draw in roughly 1,400 people to Salt Spring Island.
The event, highlighted by a display of hundreds of varieties of apples at Fulford Hall, takes place across the island. Dozens of participating venues, which include orchards, farms and cideries, open their doors to festival-goers, who, with the help of a map, are allowed to choose which venues they prefer to visit.
“We connect them, actually, with the tree and the farmer that’s producing all those apples,” Burton said.
The event at Fulford Hall is only for display purposes, meaning festival-goers must visit the venues to sample the apples or offerings.
Burton said he likely won’t know how many apples will be displayed this year until each orchard or venue brings in their varieties the night prior to the festival, but he noted last year’s event featured about 430 different types of apples — all grown organically on Salt Spring Island.
Many of the varieties are exclusive to the island, he said.
“A lot of the varieties grown here are not grown anywhere else in Canada, so that’s pretty amazing.”
One venue Burton made sure to highlight was Beddis Castle, a private orchard which began as a homestead orchard in the late 1870s and which only opens up to the public one day a year — on the day of the festival.
Local cideries, CiderWorks and Salt Spring Wild Cider, will also be featured, as will the Salt Spring Pie Ladies, who baked 193 apple pies for last year’s event.
The Salt Spring Island Apple Festival takes place this year on Sept. 29.