Annapolis River - Apple core
Orchards blossom in the valley
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 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
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