The edible art project was conceived by Sam Van Aken, an award-winning sculptor and art professor at Syracuse University, using an ancient method called chip grafting. The technique involves cutting a section of a branch and inserting a bud from a desired fruit tree, taping the wound until it's able to produce on its own. The whole process is described in the video below.
"The idea came from a fascination with the process of grafting. When I'd seen it done as a child it was Dr. Seuss and Frankenstein and just about everything fantastic," Van Aken told the National Geographic.
The 42-year-old artist, who created his first Tree of 40 Fruit back in 2008, explains on his website that he chose to stop at forty because it is a symbol of "the infinite, a bounty that is beyond calculation" in western culture.