In the 1990s, in the sunny Similkameen Valley of British Columbia, orchardists Wilfrid and Sally Mennell discovered a different shoot growing up in a newly replanted row of apple trees. As the sapling grew, it bore a few beautiful apples. Wilfrid named it Ambrosia, food of the gods, for its honeyed sweetness and juicy crunch! Pickers, who seldom eat apples, loved Ambrosia, and stripped the tree of fruit. So the Mennells propagated trees for testing, and patented the new variety to ensure that it could be developed as a new product.
Wilfrid’s brothers, Brian and Robert Mennell, who had been growing fruit organically for several years, wanted to try this new apple. Their first sales of the new apple were into the organic market which proved to be the ideal place for testing a new variety because of the close relationship between grower and consumer. The response was very positive – consumers, who want to know more about what they are buying, loved this new apple created by Mother Nature.
Today Ambrosia apples are grown not only in British Columbia, but in other parts of Canada as well as in the US, Italy, Chile and New Zealand, but they are particularly cherished by the organic growers of the Similkameen Valley, home of the Mother Tree.