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Dan McCowan, Naturalist, 1941

Mr. McCowan, you are well known Canadian nature lover, with many books to your credit. Nature provides us with an abundance of food -- both animal and plant. While the natives here over a thousand years ago were hunters of wild animals and gatherers of wild berries and root-foods, they eventually started to cultivate the soil and plant seeds. I wonder if the Indians ever planted apple trees. At least, can you tell us something about the old orchards and fruit trees in North America that you've come across?

Of all trees, the apple seems to become most visibly aged. The limbs of the old individuals are twisted and gnarled as if the rains of Fraser Valley or the fog of the Bay of Fundy had brought a scourge of rheumatism to the ancient fruit- bearers... Beside them the oldest apple tree in North-west America is but a slip. This tree, planted on the Hudson's Bay farm at Fort Vancouver, Washington, in 1826, continues to produce fruit although the apples are now somewhat puny. At a dinner in England the Captain of a sailing vessel, then about to cross the Atlantic, dropped a few apple seeds in his waistcoat pocket and from one of these sprouted the pioneer filler of Pacific Coast pies. I have a very special regard for this particular apple tree because a grand-uncle of mine was overseer of the farm when the seed was placed in the soil.

The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #9 and
The McCowans' Who's Who, Vol. 7