WATCH: Parks Canada is offering a u-pick apples program at 17 heritage orchards protected under the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Ceilidh Millar reports.
Apples are sweet, tart and good to eat.
Besides their flavour, apple trees found on the Gulf Islands offer a sweet glimpse into local history.
“There’s a rich history in the Gulf Islands region of apple growing” explained Madelin Emery of Parks Canada’s Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
For years, Parks Canada has been tracing the origin of settlers to the Gulf Islands with the help of apple trees discovered in former orchards.
“For example, some orchards were planted by Hawaiian Settlers,” said Emery.
Emery says the Gulf Islands were once the largest apple-producing area in the province.
Now, the apples are mainly enjoyed by wildlife but that’s about to change with their new pilot project.
“We’ve never permitted people to remove natural objects from the National Park Reserve,” said Emery.
“We’re now offering a u-pick apple program so visitors can taste local history.”
Visitors will be limited to six apples per visit.
Guidelines also include picking the produce only by hand or with picking poles.
Among the hundreds of apple trees, there are 17 heritage and non-heritage orchards on eight Islands protected under the National Park Reserve.
While some varieties of Red Delicious and Spartan apples can also be found in the grocery store, visitors can discover unique varieties like Newton Wonder and Golden Delicious apples.
“The originals had a different flavour altogether.”
For more information, visit Parks Canada’s website.