Apple tradition continues with sampling
Although we can’t go whole hog on Thanksgiving, as Creemore likes to do, there will be apples.
The Saturday of the holiday weekend is usually packed with activities – the apple pie contest, The Toronto North York Hunt’s ride to hounds, and Octoberfest at Creemore Springs Brewery.
In the absence of the apple pie contest, which is hosted by the Creemore Farmers’ Market and The Creemore Echo crew, market board member Bill Mann, an heirloom apple enthusiast, wanted to do something to celebrate the harvest and fall’s best fruit.
Going way back, Mann brought some of his apples, which he had grafted with his daughter, for sampling at the market.
“I think heirloom varieties of anything are often better than the current varieties,” said Mann. “Thanksgiving really is, along with pumpkins, apple time so why not try something we’ve tried in times past? Because it was popular.”
He approached Allen Clarke to see if he would donate 10 varieties of his heirloom apples. Alan Hibben agreed to order another 10. Both are located in Mulmur.
“The hills of Creemore and Mulmur are ideal for apple growing, as the sides of all our dirt roads will attest, given all the trees,” said Mann.
Some of the apple varieties have very creative names. The apples sourced from Clarke’s farm have monikers like Seek no Further, The Crimson Beauty, and Sweet Sixteen. The person who discovers the variety gets to name it, explains Mann.
“Apples only cross fertilize. If you try to cross apples of the same variety, they will not produce offspring so when you bite into an apple it’s really of mixed heritage and that’s why there are so many different varieties of apples because it’s just their way of making sure the species multiplies, and multiply in this area it certainly has,” said Mann. “Most of the heirloom varieties were discovered on somebody’s farm. The original McIntosh was discovered on Mr. McIntosh’s farm.”
The market apple sampling later morphed into the apple pie contest, launched by then members of the Creemore Heritage Apple Society, organized by Biz Storm.
This year’s apple sampling will begin when the Creemore Farmers’ Market, set up in the parking lot at Creemore Springs Brewery, opens at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 10.