We all know the farmers need our support – the news often highlights the effects of drought, especially on cattle. But how about our growers? Have you ever given any thought to the simple things that can have a massive impact on our growers?
Take for instance, apples. Have you ever stopped to think about the apples on your supermarket shelves? The fact that the varieties that were once popular when you were a child eating apples on the school playground, just aren’t around anymore?
Apples, seemingly, come and go like fashion. Today the big-name supermarkets are stocked to the brim with apples – usually four or so red varieties, and one green. You’ll usually find Pink Lady, Gala, Fuji and maybe Jazz. But what ever happened to the good old Bonza? It’s just slipped off the radar, in favour of other more ‘fashionable’ varieties.
The Bonza is an apple known very well by apple grower Scott Baron of Bonza Apples – after all this apple is the namesake of his apple stall, and rightly so as it was his Grandfather, Ben Atkinson, who discovered the humble Bonza apple in Batlow in the early 1950s. Ben named the apple Bonza, a combination of two words – the Australian ‘Bonser’ and the nod to good fortune, ‘Bonanza’.
Scott Baron calls himself a purveyor of rare and endangered apples. Because that’s what these bonzas are, endangered because the demand from the big stores just isn’t there anymore. But Bonzas really are, well… Bonza!
Scott still grows his Bonzas in Batlow. All his Bonzas are tree ripened which allows them to gain their full flavour potential. They are chemical free and grown using only organic methods. Scott says the first ever Bonza discovered by his Grandfather just grew from a seedling on a fence of his property. Thought to be from parentage of the Democrat and Snowy apple varieties, Scott says these apples are just beautiful with firm, crisp white flesh which doesn’t brown as easy as other apple varieties when cut. Scott explains that Bonzas have a good, even flavour – not too sweet and not too sour – are good keepers and good cookers.
In addition to Bonza, Scott grows other heritage apple varieties including Jonathon, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Five Crown and Rome Beauty, along with mainstream apple varieties including Pink Lady, Royal Gala and Fuji.
So, next time you’re at the Market, say hello to Scott and save an apple from becoming an endangered species by bagging some Bonzas.