US Secretary of State John Kerry praises Almaty aport18 september 2015, 13:35
US Secretary of State John Kerry has praised Almaty aport when delivering a speech at an awards ceremony of the Artisan Enterprise program at the Department of State on September 10, Tengrinews reports.
"This is my apple I just got. This is a souvenir of Kazakhstan, of Almaty, to be precise and it is woven, actually, with the local wool. And these are giant apples which apparently Almaty produces and coming from New England, where our fall harvesting of apples is critical, I am going to show them this and say, "Get to act together, guys". It's beautiful," Kerry said.
Kazakhstan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Yerlan Idrissov retweeted John Kerry's mention of the Almaty apples and invited him to visit Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan's Almaty is indeed associated with apples. In fact, Almaty or Alma-Ata literally means "the grandfather of apples" in Kazakh.
Almaty is famous for its Aport apples - grapefruit-sized apples with red skin brought from southern Russia 10 years after Almaty city was founded in 1855 and planted in the southern Central Asian city.
Its average weight is 300-400 grams, although some especially large apples used to reach 700-800 grams during the peak of the city's gardening success in 1970s and 80s. The biggest registered Aport apple weighed 1.9 kilogram.
The suburbs of the city used to be famous for their apple gardens. There used to be a lot of fruit trees in the center of Almaty as well.
However, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and its collective farms and amid the current poor horticultural practices, the famous Aport apples became almost completely extinct and only a few gardeners now grow these apples in their private orchards.
By Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina