Up close with over 35,000 apples at Äpplemarknaden in Kivik

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 05, 2011

The Äpplemarknaden (Apple Market) is an annual event held in Kivik, a town in southern Sweden which has been an important supplier of the fruit, beginning since the year 1988.

The highlight at the Apple Market is the "apple art": pieces of art that look like paintings, but are actually pieced together into a mosaic by tons of apples. By tons, I really mean tons. The art piece usually weighs around 3 tons and consists of 35,000 apples!

Since I came to Sweden, we have specially made our way to Kivik to attend the Apple Market on three occasions: in 2008, 2010, and 2011. Ok, why not 2009? I wonder too, we must have forgotten to mark down the event dates! Gosh, and I thought 2009 had the most beautiful apple art!

This was the apple art painting back in 2008, titled "Free after Frans Floris Pomona". The woman behind the work was Emma Karp Lundström, inspired with a motif taken from the 1500s painting "Pomona" by Frans Floris.

It was my first time seeing an apple union! I can't find any better word to describe a 35,000 apples gathering. I was quite amazed to discover that apples could actually come in so many varying colours (albeit only shades of green and red) that they could form such a magnificent art piece.

Back in 2008, those were the days when we could travel carefree, when there was no worrying if we had brought enough diapers or milk, no need to spend great efforts maneuvering the stroller on the cobbled ground, days when we could stroll hand in hand, in peace, at the festival. Ok, that doesn't mean I wish we could go back to those days. I wouldn't trade my baby for anything. Hmmm. Or maybe for one day, I would consider.

We had a pleasant lunch under one of the covered tents, enjoying delicious apple cider along with roasted pork and chicken.

There would always be a gallery and exhibition at the market where you could admire pictures of the art pieces from past years, learn all about species of apples and their names, and view a range of apple products from apple cider to apple jam.

We saw many people munching the chocolate and sugar-coated apples and felt that we had to try them for ourselves. Well, I had to say they looked better than they tasted. Somehow, the sugar coating was too hard and sticky for us eat it properly, and the chocolate wasn't as yummy as I thought it would be. Still, you won't know till you try, right? Well, we never bought them again. Decided to stick to simple, original apples and apple juice instead.

As an avid magnet collector, how could jw miss out on these cute-looking fridge magnets? We bought three, two apples and one pear (yes, they sold pear in the market too!), for memento sake.

In 2010, the apple art was titled "Yes box, Bombi", a tribute to Swedish author Fritiof Nilsson Piraten who wrote the book "Bombi Bitt and me". The creator behind this art piece was, for the tenth consecutive year, Emma Karp Lundström.

When you have a baby, you tend to realise that he/she makes a much better looking model than yourself. Just check out her flawless smooth skin and cute 4-teeth grin! So, we ended up taking more pictures of her than of ourselves since the day she was born. Anyway, it was her first time at the Apple Market and I wanted to make sure I took enough pictures for memories. She was a professional model that day and displayed a wide range of ecstatic expressions, lasting long enough for me to capture on camera.

Besides the art piece, apple gallery and restaurants, the Apple Market also features many stalls with vendors selling things like ornaments, clothes, handmade craft, souvenirs and so on. There would also be performances on stage like live band, dancing and song singing.

One of our favourite part was that we got to sample all kinds of apples and taste apple juice. Some of the apples tasted really unique and nothing like I had ever eaten before. Well, we didn't want to be just kiasu Singaporeans going around to take free samples, so we made sure we always bought something in the end. This year, we ended up with a big bag of apples, another big bag of pears and two cartons of apple juice.

Angel was more than eager to taste the apples and juice. Well, not that she could bite much into the apple with only 4 teeth. Still, one tiny piece of apple and one sip of juice was more than adequate to make her an elated 10-month-old baby.

We also brought her to the apple gallery and honestly I thought she was a little overwhelmed by the massive amount of apples in front of her. And also by the parents who insisted on her taking some cute pics with the apples.

This was the 2009 apple art piece that we missed. It was titled "The loose housing in Apple Empire", which showed a herd of gallant horses galloping against a beautiful landscape. I thought it looked awesome!

There was an apple orchard nearby where you could do your own apple picking! We were thrilled when we knew that and so wouldn't miss it for anything. It was a first time experience for all three of us and we spent a couple of hours just walking around the orchard, trying to spot big crunchy-looking apples, and then picking them one by one. Life should be like that, shouldn't it? Simple, slow-paced, sweet.

From all her smiles, Angel probably enjoyed herself too. She was pretty fascinated to see so many apples on the trees and when daddy helped her to pick one and she could hold it in her hands, she held it so tightly that it was like a gem to her.

Well, not only Angel, jw and I had a fun time too, behaving like two young little kids running around the orchard to pick apples and playing hide and seek. Eventually, we went home with another bagful of apples. Our very own self-picked apples. Yayy!

This year in 2011, we again made our way to Kivik in September for the Apple festival. The art piece this year was "Apple Kingdom". 

Well, one big difference from last year was that by this time, Angel was already a 22-month old toddler! I'm assuming jw and I pretty much looked the same. That meant that she could walk around freely and we saved the hassle of pushing a stroller around or having to carry her all the time. She was also better able to appreciate and participate in the event like swaying to the live performances, tasting the apple juice, eating the apples or simply admiring the apples in the gallery. I'm pretty sure she didn't know the names of the species, but at least she could say A for Apple!

So, the apple board was 108m², using a total of 35,000 apples of 9 different species, and required a total of 70,000 nails to hold them up. If you think about it, it isn't as easy as it seems. The artist and her helpers had to twist and turn each apple to find the right hue for every spot. Interestingly, the art piece would change its appearing accordingly as the apples ripened.

This was my favourite shot of Angel this year. She's a good little poser for the camera, isn't she? Well, it took us quite a while to get the shot too as initially she wasn't very willing to be just one foot away from the tens of thousands of apples. Soon though, she warmed up and was even reaching over to touch and pat the apples.

We kind of had similar hairstyles since we had the same hair stylist. M-E! Check out our newly cut fringes. Haha. It's of no wonder hairdresser was never on my mind of aspiring careers.

Karlskrona! We had to honour this apple somehow since it came from where we lived.

For lunch, we had roasted chicken, shrimp salad, apple pie and a whole box of prawns. I personally thought the prawns were delectable though I am not a seafood lover. As for Angel, I guessed she loved the milk most. See her cheeky expression here?

After lunch, we took a stroll along the stalls and we bought a pink little amigurumi doll for Angel. I actually thought I could make it for her myself, but my nice hubby said that we should be kind and support the old lady who was selling it. So we did. Angel loved the doll too, for that day at least.

Here she was, holding on tightly to her new present and drinking yummy apple juice at the same time. She was so happy and proud that she could now hold her own cup and drank cup after cup after cup. Thank goodness there was only a sample portion in each cup.

From the way she would tip her cup upside down, finish the juice in one big gulp and then keep saying 还要 (I still want!), I had a hunch that she was going to be a good drinker next time. Tsk tsk. Like father like mother like daughter.

Maybe it was because this year was probably our last visit to the Apple Market since we would be heading back to Singapore next year. Or maybe because our car was parked nearby. Or simply because we lost our minds. Well, we bought 2kg of apples and then 6 boxes of 3-litres apple juice. Meaning we had enough apples to last as desserts for the whole of next month and 18-litres of apple juice to last for the rest of the year.

My last treat from the Apple Market was the Apple Hamburger, which I couldn't resist from trying. It was a smart choice because not only did it fill my growling tummy, it was also much more delectable than we expected! The apple added a sweetness to the hamburger and elevated its flavours to make it yummylicious! Well, maybe I was really hungry, but I let jw taste it and he thought it was nice too.

Once again, we made our way to the same apple orchard for some apple picking. It only costed 10kr (less than S$2) per kg of apples picked, which was actually very cheap. Moreover, the apples were usually quite fresh and delicious. If you picked a rotten one, that's your own problem.

We probably arrived quite late this time as somehow there were not as many nice-looking apples up on the trees as we imagined. Still, if you spent some time exploring and had an eye for apple, you would still be able to pick out several good ones.

Angel was totally euphoric during the apple picking session. She would excitedly run to from tree to tree, point to an apple and shout "There! There!". She also tried to pick apples on her own, though she sometimes couldn't seem to pluck them out and would end up in frustration. Nonetheless, with a little help from daddy mummy, she managed to pick apple after apple. Jw would carry her high up to reach for the apples on the tree, as for me, well, I just made do with those dangling near the ground considering my toddler was no longer a light infant. We had wanted to let her choose her own apples to pick too, but alas she would usually choose the rotten ones.

Just like last year, Angel would look at the apples innocently and held them like jewels. This year, she could also do the job of holding the plastic bag and putting in the apples one by one, which somehow made her laugh every time she did it. Kids, they are so easy to please. Sometimes.

All in all, we had enjoyed our visits to Kivik on all three occasions and they would definitely be fond memories to last us for a long time. Well, where would you be able to pick apples or see 35,00 apples up close in Singapore? So, cheers to the A-list fruit (I still have tens of them in my fridge) and we will make sure we slowly savour the 18 litres of apple juice during our remaining stay in Sweden!


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