Jeremy Smith tried a heritage apple near the Derby Reach Heritage Area in the park.

Take a bite of history at Langley’s Apple Day

Heritage orchards will be celebrated at Derby Reach.

The apples are ripe, and it’s a bumper crop across Langley, said Jeremy Smith of the Derby Reach/Brae Island Parks Association.

That means this weekend’s Heritage Apple Day will have plenty of samples of old-style apples for visitors to check out.

Heritage Apple Day returns to Derby Reach Regional Park on Oct. 1, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the park’s heritage area.

The site was chosen 11 years ago for the first Heritage Apple Day because it lies next to one of the oldest orchards in British Columbia. A handful of trees going back to pioneer days still stand near the site of the first Fort Langley, and volunteers have planted new saplings to keep some of the heritage apples under cultivation.

Jeremy Smith of the parks association checked out some of the newer trees, some of which were heavy with ripe apples.

He joined the association just as the first Heritage Apple Day was starting.

“The main thing for me is we managed to keep it non-commercial,” Smith said.

It’s a local, family-friendly event that encourages people to arrive by car, bike, or other modes of transportation.

“There’s a bunch of people who come by canoe,” said Smith.

Fort Langley Canoe Club members and some kayakers from Maple Ridge come down the Fraser and land on a beach not far from the site where the first Fort Langley trading post once stood.

The free event will include re-enactments which bring pioneer history to life.

The Langley Community School Fiddlers will perform, and artists will be at work around the park.

Smith praised the Metro Vancouver Parks workers who organize some of the events and get the kids involved.

Of course, there will also be apples and apple-related activities.

One of the major goals is to educate the public about varieties of apples that can’t be found in the modern supermarket.

Dozens of varieties of apples are no longer grown commercially, but were once popular on farms around the Fraser Valley.

Local growers will be selling fruit trees for those who want to try to harvest their own apples.

There will be samples of heritage apple varieties to try, but there will be no concession stands. Visitors are advised to bring a picnic lunch if they want to stay a

 

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