December 29, 2010
Writer: Writer: Tori Bowman

To celebrate the arrival of spring, the Brigham Young University-Idaho Department of Horticulture is sponsoring its first annual Apple Blossom Festival Saturday, May 29, from noon to 2 p.m. in the apple orchards behind the Thomas E. Ricks Building.

The four-acre apple orchard will be open for individuals and families to come picnic, and welcome spring amongst the blossoms. Festivities will include two treasure hunts, one for children and another for adults, face painting, apple bobbing and three-legged races. A photographer will also be available to take pictures of friends and families.

The orchard was planted in 1979 in order to test hardiness of various fruit trees in the Rexburg climate. Now, 31 years later, the orchard has become a collection of apple trees, featuring over 150 different types of apples. The orchard is contains varieties of apples from all over the world.

"For BYU-Idaho to have such a diverse collection of apple trees is incredible," said Jerry Toll, chair of the Department of Horticulture. "An orchard of this style is very uncommon. It's provides fantastic learning opportunities for students."

The orchard is used by the Department of Horticulture for student research and teaching fruit production. It gives students hands-on experience in pest management, pruning, landscape design, and plant research as they test and collect data related to the trees' yield, taste and climate tolerance.

"I could learn how to prune a fruit tree by reading a textbook, but having that hands-on experience is the best way to learn," said Micah Williams, a junior majoring in horticulture. "This enables us to approach our future professions with more confidence."

For more information, contact the Department of Horticulture at (208) 496-4500.