What Elgin (Grabouw), Shakespeare and Eminem Have in Common

Posted by The Cape Country Meander on Monday, August 25, 2014 with 1 comment
The apple appears to have been around since ancient times. It’s referenced in religion, myths, legends, fairy tales and folklore throughout the ages. Singers from Frank Sinatra to Eminem have sung about them. Poets such as William Blake and Robert Frost wrote about them. This plump little specimen has even featured in Shakespeare’s works. Remember that famous line from The Taming of The Shrew “There’s small choice in rotten apples”? In the Elgin Valley, Grabouw in the Overberg apples are practically revered and for jolly good reason too.

Inside a historical shoemakers cottage

The Elgin Valley is known throughout the world as the place where apples come from and generously produces 60% of the national crop. Elgin is home to Appletiser, the world famous “champagne of fruit juices” soft drink. And while you might not think of Elgin’s apple history as the most riveting way to occupy your mind, humour yourself, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Just off the main road in Grabouw town you’ll find the signposted Elgin Apple Museum in a historic shoemakers cottage. It’s one of only two apple museums in the world and offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of the apple industry.

Among the intriguing bits and pieces

The museum is packed with old photographs and displays from farming equipment to antique kitchen utensils. Find out how apples first came to the Cape. Get to know the stories of the early pioneers. Track the history of apple farming from the very first orchard in Elgin to the modern techniques used today. This little museum is filled with bits and pieces that depict how apple farming put a small community on the world map.

Opening hours and admission

Entrance is free, but donations are appreciated. The museum is adjacent to the Barrel & Beer Pub from which you can request the keys from the bar. Don’t forget to write your name in the guestbook before you leave.

If you ask your children, niece or nephew where apples come from, chances are they might rattle off the name of a retail store. What many people don’t know is that apples probably first came from Kazakhstan. In fact, the last surviving wild apple forests on earth are found there. Regardless, Elgin is by far South Africa’s largest apple producing region and proudly so. So, do take some time out from the area’s breathtaking countryside to do some historical apple browsing.

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