In a bid to reintroduce Americans to long-forgotten native fruit, a New York sculptor has created an incredible tree that can produce 40 varieties of stone fruit at once.
Sam Van Aken, who is also an art professor at Syracuse University, grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania where grafting was a common practice. However, to him, it always seemed magical. “When I’d seen it done as a child it was Dr. Seuss and Frankenstein and just about everything fantastic,” he said during a Tedx talk last year.
Van Aken has been growing multi-fruit trees since 2008, through a technique called ‘chip grafting’. He starts by taking a slice of a fruit tree that includes buds, and inserts it into a matching incision in a host tree that is at least three years old. He uses electrical tape to hold the pieces together. Soon enough, the “veins” of different trees flow into each other, sharing the same life energy.