PINNACLE, NC August 26, 2013 — The heirloom apples in the Southern Heritage Apple Orchard at Horne Creek Living Historical Farm are prized for their role in ensuring plant diversity in the U.S. Now they are prized for their special adaptability to climates in Africa. Several of Horne Creek’s eight tested apple varieties now are growing in Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda with the help of an innovative nonprofit.
California nurseryman Kevin Hauser acquired cuttings from heritage varieties of apples grown at Horne Creek to assist in the Apples for Africa aid project. The nonprofit helps people in the tropics, specifically war-torn African countries such as Rwanda, Sierre Leone and Congo, to establish apple orchards. An education program was started in Uganda and spread to other countries.
Hauser owns Kuffle Creek Apple Nursery and is experimenting with apple varieties that can be shipped year-round. He saw apples as an ideal crop for the war torn countries of eastern and southern Africa because often women and children are left to farm while men are off fighting. “Crops like cassava, yams and Irish potatoes require cultivating the fields every year. But establishing an apple orchard gives a return every year with not nearly as much labor,” he explained.
Hauser began experimenting with varieties grown at Horne Creek’s Heritage Apple Orchard several years ago. He acquired cuttings, called scionwood, from Horne Creek and grew a few trees from the cuttings. In Africa, the rainfall patterns and highland conditions in certain areas allowed some of these apple varieties to produce high quality fruit, and allowed farmers in the region to raise their household income. For example, the $8 for a case of apples triples the return of harvesting tea all day, an average crop. The Hunge apple variety does particularly well in Zambia while the Dixie Red Delight apple is one of many varieties successfully being grown in Rwanda.
“We never expected our apples to have international impact,” said Horne Creek Site Manager Lisa Turney. “We are gratified that these apple varieties can offer hope and improved lives to people literally fighting for survival.”
Horne Creek Living Historical Farm includes the Hauser farm, a typical 1900s period Piedmont farm that includes a tobacco barn and corn crib and demonstration fields. Horne Creek is located at 308 Horne Creek Road in Pinnacle. For information please call (336) 325-2298 or email email@example.com. The site is part of the Division of State Historic Sites within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.