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I went to the apple festival yesterday for the first time this year. After supporting UBC farmer's markets throughout the summer, I was stoked!

After getting lost at UBC farm, we finally found our way by bicycle to the festivities.

I was okay paying $2 admission to get in, but I was expecting more than what was offered. Let me preface this by saying I arrived at around 1:30-2 pm... Had I known this would be "too late" of a time to get to such an event, I probably wouldn't have bothered. Maybe all this headache could have been prevented had I attended on Saturday?

First, most of the apples in the apple sales area were sold out. Nevertheless, I helped myself to an overpriced bag of Aurora Golden Gala apples at the overripe price of $6 for a 3 lb bag... that's $2/lb. No doubt they were quite tasty... let's see how they survive baking!

Second, I was expecting to get to try some apple cider or juice samples, but there was no such thing. Only 4 litre jugs of apple juice for $8 were for sale.... and I don't think it was even organic.

Third, I was expecting the apple tasting to be free... okay maybe this was unrealistic of me to expect... but $3 to taste apples?

Fourth, apple pie and candy apples were sold out. I was so bummed because I was hoping a caramel apple would be a little consolation... by now it was around 2:30 pm in the afternoon.

I have a feeling a lot of people who came around the same time as me or later were ripped off to some degree. When I left just before 3, they were letting people in for free as everything was "sold out".

Anyhow, needless to say I came away quite disappointed. I understand the $2 is to support the botanical garden, which I certainly don't mind doing. However, with apples being one of the cheapest fruits available... and local as well, I didn't expect to pay so much for apples (again they weren't organic even). The least they could've done is give an apple to every person just for coming. It really wasn't fair of the organizers to be charging $2 for admissions during Sunday afternoon, since so many products were already unavailable.

The highlight of the event was just walking around the botanical garden and seeing the food plants.

We won't be returning next year, unfortunately.

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Same story as currypuff - even though we arrived earlier on Sunday (around noon), there were only a handful of apple varieties for sale. The festival was from 11 am to 4 pm, so we thought we were early! Quite disappointed. In terms of the apple taste testing, the line-up was ridiculous! We had to leave, having only tried the apple chips and hot apple juice (not tasty at all :wacko: ).

The sunny weather definitely played a part, with people coming in droves. Will try again next year, but on the Saturday!

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I believe the UBC Farm is a non-profit entity, so that would partially explain what you experienced. It also goes a long way to show the impact the large factory farms/prchards have on our food chain. We are all very accustomed to $1/lb (or less) apples ... but the fact is that it costs way more for the smaller producers to get those same apples to market.

I've gone to the Apple Festival in the past and had a great time. Granted we got there early, and we viewed it as an educational opportunity rather than an chance to grab free apples.

A.

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Well there is no doubt that you have to understand how the apple sales work to get the interesting apples. I was there at 10:30 on Saturday morning and there was already a line up. Needless to say, the varieties you don't see on supermarket shelves sell out very quickly. The apples are not inexpensive but, as Arne said, it costs more for small producers to get their product to market. There is no shortage of people willing to pay what the UBC apple festival is charging for apples.

I'm sure the good weather did create a bigger crowd than normal which led to so much being sold out before the festival was over on Sunday. However, it is a fund raiser, and there's a whole pile of volunteers that keep the whole thing going so I don't go expecting a slick experience, especially for $2.00. It used to be free.

I can understand how you feel and empathize. I did the apple tasting once and never again - I stood in line in the pouring rain. On the other hand, I think it normally costs $4.00 to get into the Botanical Gardens, so for $2.00 you still got a bargain.

If you do ever decide to go again, take my advice and show up at 11:00 on Saturday to buy apples. They have an "apple-check" so you can walk around and enjoy the gardens and whatever else is on offer and then pick up your apples before you go. Also bring big bags to carry your apples in.

Cheers,

Anne

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Well,

They really aren't making the prices very accessible for lower income families, of which there are many in Vancouver. Honestly, it feels like I have to be an elitist to afford more than one bag of apples...

Good point about the prices of apples from smaller producers being higher than I had expected, as apples in markets are usually subsidized in some way.

Yeah the line-up for the apple tasting was ridiculous. My friend went on Saturday afternoon and that was the only thing she wanted to do but she didn't bother because she was there a bit too early and didn't want to wait around for so long.

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My wife took the kids on Sat. afternoon.

A bit busy, some stuff sold out etc, some long lines but it was a perfect crisp fall day, and everybody had the same idea.

My kids are nuts for apples and my son can identify quite a few different varities at 100 paces, and is quite picky aboout which ones he will eat, so they had a good time, learned something and stayed off the candy for a sat. afternoon, so all in all, a good day.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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Well,

They really aren't making the prices very accessible for lower income families, of which there are many in Vancouver.  Honestly, it feels like I have to be an elitist to afford more than one bag of apples...

It is a fundraiser, they supply all kinds of things that cost money - shuttle buses, porta-potties etc, etc.

Cheers,

Anne

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They really aren't making the prices very accessible for lower income families, of which there are many in Vancouver.  Honestly, it feels like I have to be an elitist to afford more than one bag of apples...

I wasn't aware that was the mandate of the UBC Botanical Garden to provide apples to anyone. In fact, a quick glance at their web site reveals this tidbit of information:

All funds generated from the festival support research and educational activities at UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research

Inexpensive apples are available everywhere. Some are probably just down the street from you right now. They're just not at UBC during the festival.

A.

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Well,

They really aren't making the prices very accessible for lower income families, of which there are many in Vancouver.  Honestly, it feels like I have to be an elitist to afford more than one bag of apples...

I don't think that particular event is really geared towards lower income families (most of my "lower income" friends don't really care much beyond red delicious vs. macintosh when it comes to apples, but that just may be the "lower income" people I hang out with), and being able to afford more than one bag would hardly make a person "elitist". Or perhaps you meant to use a different word?

Had I been in your shoes, the only thing I would have complained about was that I hadn't arrived there earlier. It wouldn't have been their fault I didn't get anything, but my own.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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I went a few years ago and I arrived early. Although a few varieties of apples were sold out, I had a chance to buy a bag that I've not tried before. I also bought an apple sappling and tried as many samples as possible. Yes, it was crowded but I had a great time.

I guess the trick is to get there early on the first day. I don't think paying $6 for a 3lb bag is expensive for a one time try. No one blinks at paying $6 for two bags of Tostitos.

I bought local organic gala apples from Capers and they taste like crap. The apples I buy from the Farmers Market are a little more pricey but so much more tasty. The apples I bought from UBC were also delicious.

I do hope your experience does stop you from trying an earlier time next year. It is so worth it.

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I have attended the Apple Festival in previous years. On one memorable visit, I arrived early in the day, with plans to taste what was available, observe the demos (prime cider-making tool: the InSinkerator!), and to meet with a few casual orchardists. These tasks made for an enjoyable afternoon. It turned out that a few members of the Apple ID Squad (not the real name of the committee) live in my neighborhood. A few days later, the group had identified six possible varieties of apple which grow on our property (and NOT delicious, mac, gala or spartan). It was very cool.

Obviously this year's Festival did not meet the expectations of Currypuff and Tough Cookie, and there may have been many other disappointed attendees. From an event planning and marketing POV, I would suggest sending a bit of feedback to the Apple Festival organizers. There may be some changes to be made in future advertising to better indicate the sort of event to anticipate. IIRC, the event is organized by volunteers, not a professional event planning company. Volunteers are wonderful; they make things possible in otherwise prohibitive situations.

Karen Dar Woon

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Darn! I wasn't able to get to the festival this year. But last year we got there very early and I found it educational and fun.

I've been specifically looking for Northern Spies - but don't recall whether they were represented at the festival last year. Does anyone know if they are locally available?

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If an event is billed from " 11 - 4", its reasonable to expect supplies to be in stock at 1:30.

If there's gonna be nothing left to sell by 2 on Sunday, plan to close by 2 on Sunday. Or include that info in the advertising.

Other than that, things are what they are. They cost what they cost, they taste how they taste, and for a fundraiser long lines are considered a good thing.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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  • 2 weeks later...
If an event is billed from " 11 - 4", its reasonable to expect supplies to be in stock at 1:30. 

If there's gonna be nothing left to sell by 2 on Sunday, plan to close by 2 on Sunday. Or include that info in the advertising.

Other than that, things are what they are. They cost what they cost, they taste how they taste, and for a fundraiser long lines are considered a good thing.

Dear Currypuff!

It's unfortunate that your experience was not a satisfying one. I am responding as I do hope you give this event another try as it one of my favourite events to go to.

We know how popular this event is and try to arrive as the gates open. The selection of apples and trees is amazing! We have purchased a number of trees, in the past, and have always been impressed with the knowledge of the sellers.

Our little orchard is slowly being filled with UBC apple trees and look forward to more purchases in the future.

Once again, I do hope you give this event another shot and, may I suggest to try to get there at the beginning.

Cheers!

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I've been specifically looking for Northern Spies - but don't recall whether they were represented at the festival last year. Does anyone know if they are locally available?

I am always looking for these too as they make the best pies, but they are usually only found back east.

That being said, I did just come across a new cider house in Sidney on Vancouver Island that is making a cider out of them, and all the apples are sources locally, so someone one the Island is growing them.

Try calling Sea Cider Cidery and they might be able to tell you where you can find them.

I have been meaning to do this, but have not had time, so if you find anything out, please let me know.

Cheers,

Eric

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  • 10 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
For the first time this year ~ the UBC Farm will be hosting tours of our very own Heritage Apple Orchard (est 2006) on Saturday Oct 18.  Our orchard has 150 trees and nearly 70 different varieties of apples!  A great place to visit if you're thinking of planting a tree in your own back yard, or if you're interested in apple culture!

Tours will run Saturday only at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm at the UBC Farm.  Bikes and other transport encouraged.  VERY limited shuttle service will be available from the Botanical Gardens.  Visit the UBC Farm Booth on site at the festival for details. 

Apple Fest Hours: 11am - 4pm Saturday October 18 and Sunday October 19

Apple Fest cost: $2 for adults, free for folks under

Karen Dar Woon

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