Crisp air around apple celebration

The return of crisp fall air means the crisp taste of heritage apples is also returning to Langley.

Heritage Apple Day will be held this Saturday, Oct. 4 at the heritage area in the Derby Reach Regional Park.

The key event will be the tasting of the apples themselves, of course.

“I think it’s been a good season in general,” said Joakim Nilsson, one of the directors of the Derby Reach-Brae Island Park Association. The association has been organizing the annual event for years now.

The heritage apples come from local trees and orchards, and represent varieties that can’t be found in the local supermarket.

A century ago, there were hundreds of apple varieties cultivated across the world. As farming became more intensive and more people got their fruit from a store rather than from a tree out back, a few varieties became dominant. 

Some of the heritage varieties are still grown, and some of the oldest apple trees in Langley have been cultivated with new cuttings and saplings in the last few years.

Apples will be on offer from local growers such as Derry Walsh, Laurelle Oldford-Down, Sheila and Dave Ormrod, and Jim and Mary Anne Rahe.

Some of the growers will also be on hand to offer advice on planting and caring for fruit trees, and they’ll be selling a variety of heritage trees for people to take home and plant.

Aside from the apples, there will be a host of family events taking place at Heritage Apple Day.

Tours will show how one of the oldest orchards in Langley was saved, and through the “floating orchard,” which was planted above the current soil level to avoid damaging any possible archaeological artifacts.

Historical tours of the area, the site of the first location of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Langley trading post, will also take place.

Re-enactor groups like the Royal Engineers and Black Powder will be firing cannons and muskets. There will also be voyageurs dressed for fur trade days.

The Langley Community School Fiddlers will add some musical accompaniment to the day. Tim Hortons will be on hand with free coffee and timbits from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

As usual for events in the fall, weather will be important.

“We’re hoping that it’s going to be fewer showers rather than more,” said Nilsson.

The event will run rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free to everyone. The event is sponsored by the park association, along with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks, the Pacific Parklands Foundation, Langley Township, and Tim Hortons.

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