Heritage Orchard

Cherry Tree Heritage OrchardHighlighting varieties featured in the Heritage Orchard donated by the Grey County Master Gardeners – June 2013

McIntosh Apple (Malus pumila)

John McIntosh was born in 1777 at Schenectady, New York. He moved to Upper Canada where he lived and worked in the Iroquois area west of Cornwall. In 1801 he married Hannah Doran.

Purchasing a farm east of Iroquois, he remained until 1811 when he exchanged his farm with his brother-in-law, Edward Doran, for the west half of Lot 9, Concession 5, Township of Matilda in Dundas County, nine miles northeast of where he had been living.

When clearing this farm which was dense wilderness, he found a quarter of acre which had once been cleared but was now covered with underbrush. Here he found about twenty small apple trees and the remains of a fire place which suggested that some Frenchman had lived there at one time. John built a log house at this spot and transplanted the trees to a spot he intended for a garden.

Within a few years most of the trees died except one which had a superior fruit. This he took special care of and grew up and bore an attractive red apple and provided a special treat to the children of the neighbourhood. It was called “Granny McIntosh’s Apple” until later when it became more widely known as “McIntosh Red”. Because of its popularity, John started a nursery and tried to grow the trees from the seed but without success. Later his son, Allan, learned the art of grafting and this was successful as the apple became known throughout the continent.

John McIntosh, the pioneer who discovered the first tree which lived until 1912 the fruit growers of Dundas County erected a monument to the McIntosh apple tree, probably the only one of its kind to an apple. (from A History of Agriculture, Vol. 1, by G. Elmore Reaman)

Medium-sized, nearly round fruit; skin yellow with a bright red blush; flesh white, sweet, tender, moderately soft and juicy; ripen in midseason. Tree vigorous, productive, hardy.

Cherry TreeMontmorency Cherry (Prunus cerasus)

This sour cherry originated in the Montmorency Valley, France in the 17th century. It is an amorelle variety which produces a clear coloured juice.

Medium to large, roundish fruit; skin bright red, thin, tender, glossy; flesh pale yellow with a reddish tinge, tender, melting, sprightly, tart of very good quality; juice abundant, light pink; stone free, small; ripens in midseason. Tree semi-dwarf and very productive.

Damson Plum (Prunus insititia)

The first trees were brought to Italy from Damascus, Syria at least a century before the Christian era, hence their name.

Small oval fruit; skin bluish-black, with a heavy bloom; flesh firm, greenish-yellow, juicy tart: freestone; ripens in midseason; too astringent to be eaten raw but excellent for cooking and preserving as jams and jellies. Tree upright, spreading; productive.

Bartlett Pear (Pyrus communis)

Originated in Berkshire, England about 1770 where it was known as Williams’ Bon Chretien Trees and was brought to America in 1797. They were planted on land owned by Enoch Bartlett in 1817 at Roxbury, Massachusetts and thus acquired a new name.

Medium to large fruit; skin pale green turning to golden-yellow; flesh white, fine-grained, juicy, sweet. Slightly sub acid with a strong musky flavor; ripens early; keeps for only 2 to 3 weeks in natural storage. Tree moderately vigorous, spreading; very productive.

Clapp’s Favorite Pear

Introduced from Russia by N. E. Hansen of Brockings, South Dakota in 1897.

Fruit large, 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter, long-conical; skin brilliant crimson; flesh very juicy, sprightly, somewhat acid, good for dessert when fully rip, very good for culinary use. Jells easily, producing a rich ruby-red jelly of beautiful colour and excellent flavor. Tree vigorous, upright-spreading; prolific; hardy.

Golden/Yellow Delicious Apples

This variety is NOT related to the Red Delicious. Originated from a chance seedling on the farm of Anderson Mullins, Clay County, West Virginia about 1890. Stark Brothers’ Nursery paid him $5,000 for the original tree in 1914. They introduced it as Golden Delicious in 1916 having previously successfully marketed another variety they called Red Delicious. The variety was an instant success and soon proved the public would buy an apple that wasn’t red if it tasted good enough.

Medium sized fruit, long with tapering, skin pale yellow, occasionally blushed with pink, flesh yellowish-white, crisp, juicy, sweet and aromatic, of high quality for dessert; ripens mid-season to late; does not store well when picked green. The fruit russets (develops brownish corky skin) if there are heavy rains 2-3 weeks after blossom drop. This is not a disease symptom and some apple varieties naturally have this type of skin. Fruit allowed to ripen to golden colour will keep until March in cold storage. Tree vigorous, spreading, setting heavy fruit crop.

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