Become a Pomologist (or fruit expert!)


Can you use your senses to describe apples’ taste, texture, colour and shape? Become a pomologist for a day and step back in time to work like a 19th century fruit grower. 

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • School term: Early Autumn, Late Autumn, Late Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science, Art&DT, History

Learning objectives

  • Using awareness of taste, texture and smell
  • Understand seasonality, know where and how a variety of fruit and vegetables are grown
  • Use a range of materials creatively
  • Produce creative work, exploring students’ ideas and recording their experiences


Look over the pages from the books “Fruits proved in the Garden, Apples” Vol II and IV, 1832. These pages show apple prints, tracing and descriptive descriptions of the apples.
For examples of the language used to describe apple colour and taste use the transcribed page sections.

Buy apples from supermarkets or farmers’ markets to get a range of different varieties. This will allow students to have a mix of flavours to taste and describe. 

Depending on students age apples can be cut for them.


Step by step

Robert Thompson was the Curator of the Fruit Department at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chiswick garden. He was a well-known Pomologist.

Pomology is botany of fruit. Pomologists study, breed and cultivate all fruit plants, shrubs and trees.

  1. Show students the pages from the books “Fruits proved in the Garden, Apples” Vol II and IV. These where collected by Robert Thompson from 1827-1831.
  2. Each student should pick an apple. Then carefully with adult supervision cut the apple in half. Put one half of the apple to the side.
  3. Now take the other apple half and press it with the stalk pointing towards the bottom of the sheet of paper. Press the apple down firmly. Draw round the outside of the apple you are pressing.
  4. Write down the colours of the apple. Does it have stripes or spots? Is it more than one colour?
  5. Pick up the half of the apple you had set aside. Now eat this half.
  6. While eating the apple think about the flavour, smell and texture. Describe and write down the taste of this apple using references to different foods like Robert Thompson did.
  7. Present your apple description and print to your group or class. Did everyone have different tasting apples? Were their apples a range of different colours? Were all the apples the same or different shapes? 

Hints & tips

  • Can your class or group make up a book of apple prints and descriptions?
  • Students could paint a picture of their apples to capture their true colours and shape.
  • Use the remaining apples to make an apple salad, chutney, soup, etc. 

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