Although Grey County is best known for its apple orchards, Bruce County farmers also raised apples. One of the most common fruit trees, apple trees were relatively easy to grow and their fruit could be stored for the winter. Although Grey County is best known for its apple orchards, Bruce County farmers also raised apples. One of the most common fruit trees, apple trees were relatively easy to grow and their fruit could be stored for the winter. Apples originated in northern Europe. Only one member of the vast rose family, the apple has as its cousins, plums, peaches, strawberries and even the mountain ash. Domesticated some 3,000 years ago, the apple has withstood years of human meddling. There are today, some 6,500 registered horticultural varieties of apples accounting for over 50 per cent of the world's deciduous fruit trees.
Among the first species of apples brought to eastern North America was the apple-john, the pearmain, pomewater and the costard. By 1700, a sizeable number of species were growing in colonial America and Canada. Many of them are long forgotten - the leathercoat, codlin, winter queening, longstalk and ladyfinger. Other apples crossed with the only true North American species - the crabapple. Acadia was the home of Canada's first apple orchards. By 1635, apples were grown in large numbers near Annapolis. Hundreds of different cultivars were brought to Upper Canada from Britain. Most have vanished, leaving the apple world dominated today by a handful of species. Predominant among them is the Mclntosh apple discovered by a John Mclntosh on the banks of the St. Lawrence River sometime in the 1870s. Like the Granny Smith, the Mclntosh was somewhat of an accident. The Granny Smith was found sprouting from a rubbish pile in New South Wales, Australia in the 1850s. So was the delicious apple, a freak of nature in an lowa orchard and the northern spy, discovered in a New York State orchard in the 18th century. Today, there are still apples grown in Bruce County.