Celebrate the Old Apple Tree Festival

The annual gathering honors what’s considered the oldest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and the mother-of-all-apples for Washington’s iconic industry

A gnarly old apple tree with multiple offshoots in a chained off area.

Despite a partial failure in 2020, multiple offshoots continue to thrive.

Photo via Steven Baltakatei Sandoval

You would think that a fruit tree planted 196 years ago would’ve gone apples to apples, dust to dust by now, but you’d be a bit off the mark.

What’s reverently (and very fittingly) called the Old Apple Tree in Vancouver has roots all the way back to Lt. Aemilius Simpson, an officer in England’s Royal Navy. At a formal dinner on the eve of his departure for the Pacific Northwest, a flirtatious woman tucked a few seeds in his jacket pocket, with the hope that he would plant them when he reached his destination. He did — just outside of Fort Vancouver in 1826.

This Sat., Oct. 1, families are invited to the Old Apple Tree Festival to celebrate the resilience of what’s considered the mother-of-all-apples across Washington’s renowned orchards. At this free event, attendees can take home cuttings from the tree (while supplies last), enjoy food, live music, cider pressing, and walking tours of nearby sights.

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