Apple trees have a long history in Langley, dating back to the 1,800’s. In Derby Reach Regional Park, these tasty trees teach us about our rural past, as well as the settlement history of the Fraser Valley. Domestic apples appeared in the Pacific Northwest along with early settlement. The stock now located in Derby Reach was probably brought by Hudson’s Bay Company workers from their original planting spot in Fort Vancouver (now Vancouver, Washington) in 1827 or 1828.
The Derby Reach/Brae Island Parks Association has created a self-guided historic ‘Heritage Apple Tour‘ brochure which outlines a map of significant points of interest and information about each tour stop in Derby Reach. Learn about the pear tree dramatically located on the edge of the Fraser River, the newest generation of the big Northern Spy Apple Tree, the uncommon Baldwin Apple Tree, the soon to fall into the river Winter Banana Apple Tree, the HBC Cairn where the Hudson’s Bay Company first operated on the mainland coast of British Columbia, the Houston House which was the center of life for this well-known local family, the Wolf River Apple Tree which is the oldest in the park, the Edge Farm Apple Tree of unknown variety, and lastly the magnificent Crabapple Tree.
Coming up next Saturday, October 5th is Heritage Apple Day at Derby Reach Regional Park. From 11:00am – 2:00pm you can enjoy this free family event, with coffee, hot chocolate and donuts provided by Tim Hortons, apple variety tasting, farm chores and old-fashioned games for the kids. You can also admire artwork as local artists will be painting in the park, and the Langley Community Music School fiddlers will be providing toe-tapping music throughout the day. Enjoy the historical presentations by re-enactors, local historians who will lead orchard tours, and Metro Parks interpreters who will lead historical tours, telling tales of ‘Ghosts Under the Apple Trees’. Apple experts, gardeners, and arborists will also be onsite to answer any of your questions. Purchase heritage apple trees and apple pies for your souvenirs! What a perfect way to kick off harvest season!
Stay tuned for next week’s post where we’ll share a great apple recipe from a local foodie!