Prince Charles Is Trying to Save the Apple — By Growing 1,000 Different Types!

08/03/2015 at 03:48 PM ET

Highgrove
Chris Jackson/Getty

Call him Charlie Appleseed!

Like the famous folk hero, Prince Charles is aiming to spread the growth of apple trees—and he’s doing so by planting 1,000 trees on his Highgrove Estate.

On the grounds, Prince Charles has planted an orchard, more formally known as “a gene bank for apples.” But instead of stacking the fields full of your grocery store favorite apples (think McIntosh and Golden Delicious), he’s growing 1,000 varieties of rare and historic apples.

The project comes out of an effort to protect the fruit’s varieties, many of which are being shut out at local supermarkets by a few popular ones (looking at you, Granny Smith). Some of the apples included in the Prince’s bank have a history that dates way, way, back: One was growing in Isaac Newton’s garden, and another was originally brought to Britain by a Roman General.

And Highgrove’s visitors will be able to taste the fruits of the Prince‘s labor (literally): Juice made from the apples will be sold in the house’s shop.

Prince Charles made a similar effort to preserve the diversity of Britain’s livestock, raising rare breeds of pigs, cattle, and sheep at Highgrove, too. With both the apples and the animals, Prince Charles is focused on genetic conservation, David Wilson, farm manager at Duchy Home Farm, the site of the apple bank, told the Sunday Times.

The apple bank is just the latest in the recent updates to Highgrove’s grounds. Last month, it was revealed that part of the house’s gardens had been transformed into a playground for Prince George, complete with a new Victorian-style Shepherd’s Hut, and a play area called the ‘Stumpery’, which includes a tree house (named ‘Hollyrood House’ after the Queen’s home in Scotland), that George’s father, Prince William, used to play in as a boy.

Looks like an apple tree will be next for Prince Charles and Prince George to plant together.

—Diana Pearl

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Robin on

That is actually very cool and very fascinating.

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