new apple discovered
© Forty Hall Farm/Enfield Independent
Paul Dart, Forty Hall Farm Orchard volunteer, collecting apple tree leaf samples for DNA testing
A community orchard is launching a naming competition, following the discovery of a unique type of apple growing on an Enfield farm.

Forty Hall Farm, run by Capel Manor College, said analysis of DNA samples from the tree's leaves have shown that the apple tree is completely unique and does not match any known examples in the National Fruit Collection.

Following its establishment in 2011, volunteers planted 130 heritage varieties of fruit trees as well as hundreds of fruiting hedgerow trees.

Historic maps of the farm show that an orchard existed on the same site in the 1830s.

Orchard volunteer Val Dyer said: "There are several old apple trees growing on the farm but we had no record of when they were planted or what types of apple they are.

"The fruitID.com project was launched by the world-renowned research organisation NIAB-EMR at East Malling in Kent to help improve the recording of different fruit varieties in the UK.

"As part of this, we were able to send samples of our apple trees for DNA fingerprinting.

"We are delighted to have a unique tree growing on Forty Hall Farm, and we have already grafted samples of the tree so we can grow more in the future."

The apple naming competition will be officially launched at the forthcoming Enfield Food Festival, when acclaimed author Pete Brown will be speaking in the Forty Hall Farm Orchard.

The Food Festival is a two-day celebration of local food and drink, running from 11am to 5pm on Sunday, August 26 and Bank Holiday Monday, August 27.

Competition entry will close on Friday 28th September and the winning apple name will be announced at the Farm's Apple Fair event, on Sunday, October 7.

Graham Welch, who has also volunteered at the Orchard since it was established, said that the group decided it was important to offer people living in the community the chance to name the tree.

He said: 'When we set up the orchard, we wanted to create a place where people could come and learn about fruit growing and food.

"We thought that a naming competition would be a great way of getting people involved in choosing a name for our unique apple variety.

"We're just hoping we don't get too many suggestions of Appley McAppleFace, as we've ruled that out already."

Tickets for the festival are £5 for adults, £2 for children under 16 and free for children under three.
Laura O'Callaghan is the Enfield Independent's reporter covering Waltham Forest. Contact her at 07824530130