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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
The McCowans' Who's Who, Vol. 7