Saturday, August 8, 2015, 10:00
One artist brings a whole new meaning to the concept of locally-grown produce.
New York artist Sam Van Aken has created a tree that grows 40 different kinds of stone fruit, including peaches, cherries, almonds, plums, and apricots.
The hybrid tree will also bloom flowers of various colours in the spring, including tones of pink, crimson, and white. The tree will grow fruit in the summer time.
The art professor brought his vision to life using an ancient grafting technique, grafting together several stone fruit trees to create the Tree of 40 Fruit.
”In order to start this project I realized that I needed to collect hundreds of varieties of stone fruits,” Van Aken says in his TEDx speech.
”[A]fter scouring New York and finding only a few [stone fruit] growers, I realized the extent to which we’ve created these massive monocultures,” Van Aken adds.
He notes that the majority of stone fruits are grown in the Central Valley in California, and the majority of apples are grown in New York and Washington.
Van Aken was raised on a farm for 20 years, but he says he was never driven by the idea of farming. This changed when he realized that one of the most diverse and historic stone fruit orchards in New York was set to be torn down due to a lack of funding.
In addition to being both a work of art and a research project, Van Aken’s hybrid tree series is the artist’s attempt at preserving heirloom, native, hybrid, and antique varieties of fruits in New York.
Van Aken is selling the trees for approximately $30,000 USD each, TIME reports, and he intends to use the proceeds to create an orchard that will house an archive of native and antique stone varieties.