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Annapolis River - Apple core

Orchards blossom in the valley

More on the Annapolis River:
Annapolis River:
Land of Evangeline

Apple Core:
Orchard blossoms in the valley

Fourteenth Colony:
An extension of New England

First Colony:
The beginning of European settlement in Canada

Grand Dérangement:
Deportation of the Acadians

For peat’s sake:
The ecology of peat bogs

Slippery business:
Eels and other catches of the Annapolis

Steal away:
Destination on the underground railway

Waste water is cleansed by the sun

Beginning in late May, tens of thousands of apple trees from Windsor, Nova Scotia to the shores of the Annapolis Basin display clouds of clustered, pink and white blossoms.

Mild winters, cool springs, and warm autumns make the Annapolis River valley ideal for the growing of apples. Apples were introduced to the region by French colonists in the early 1600s.

The national beverage of France at that time was apple cider. The key reason for apple growing in the early days of settlement was probably to make this popular drink. The first reference to any apple product being produced was recorded in 1605 by Samuel de Champlain. On a page of his diary in 1605, he wrote: 'The cold was so intense that the cider was divided by an ax and measured out by the pound.'

The Annapolis Valley contains one third of all the farming land in the province and can successfully grow a wider range of crops than elsewhere in the Maritime region. The Minas and Annapolis Basins keep the winters milder than other parts of the Maritimes that are away from the Atlantic Ocean. Fruit buds do not develop until the greatest frost danger has passed each spring. In the autumn, the moisture retains heat longer. Finally, the mountain stretches to the south and north of the valley to create a 'greenhouse' effect; trapping warm air. The apple-growing area extends not only from Aylesford to Annapolis Royal on the Annapolis, but also includes the Cornwallis, Canard and Gaspereau River valleys.

Apple-farming is labour-intensive. The cultivation of apple trees, a species of the rose family, includes pruning, spraying, provision of bees for pollination, irrigation, and prevention of damage by rodents and deer. Several years of care are needed before a crop can be harvested from new trees.

Apples are Canada's favourite fruit and Annapolis apples are used for a wide variety of products that range from applesauce and fillings for pies and pastries, to dried fruit mixtures and pot pourri, a natural air freshener made of dried flowers.

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