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A History of Apple Growing on Salt Spring Island
1860 to the Present

Harry Burton, 11 January 2017

This program highlights the importance of apple growing to the development of Salt Spring Island.

Harry Burton, Salt Spring’s own ‘Captain Apple’, summarizes with information and anecdotes the amazing history of Apple growing on Salt Spring Island. Harry follows the ebb and flows of orcharding on Salt Spring from the first plantings of apples by Theodore Trage in 1860, to the recent display of 430 apple varieties at the 2016 Salt Spring Apple Festival.

Accession Number Interviewer a presentation to the Historical Society at Central Hall
Date January 11, 2017 Location
Media digital recording Audio mp3
ID 292




Unknown Speaker 0:00
So my pleasure today is to introduce Harry Harry Burton's. Well, we went to many of the salts for years, maybe to all of you actually, that's why you all came. He's the history, historian of apples and Saltspring Island. He's been around for salt stream for a long time. Last time he was here, he spoke to us on the record family history. He's part of the organizer, I guess, founder of the apple festival, a highly successful agricultural festival each year on Saltspring. So Harry, it's a pleasure to welcome you back to the Historical Society. We look forward to your presentation today. Thank you.

Speaker 1 0:43
Exactly so much information available that one of my hopefully, test system was getting organized. So I'm going to have a slideshow in about 15 minutes here. And it's not exactly coordinated with my talk. But that's that's life. Okay, so I'm going to talk about a few things up here on the front. First, before I get into the history, this itself is Apple history right here. This is a bull made from apple wood, it was made by Jordy. Webster is not actually doing bowls anymore. It's cut out of the tree in this shape. So when you do when you cut the wood off, this is the direction that it is. But that's 13 and a half inches. And where do you get an apple tree that says big, except ourselves. I've got one right now that it's from the first firm and Saltspring has started 1860. It's a log that just came down. And I'm hoping to get that and do a timeline and others the slab and do a timeline that we can actually go back and trace the dates and maybe find out exactly when that tree was planted. But what you want to do is you don't want to dry those things up too fast. So we're working on that slowly. The other thing I've got here is one of my treasures. This is a book from 1876. It was it was from Henry Rocco. And I got it through his granddaughter in law, which is Lotus. And she said you need this book. And it's basically done by two brothers down the brothers United States where they list every Apple right it exists in United States at that time. And it's one of the two incredible Apple books that exists exist in the United States. So that is a real treasure. And I'd like to think that Henry ruckle plan is using that book. The other thing we've got here is a poster we've made up to the Apple festival. This is actually this is a poster of 60 of the favorite apples from Salt Spring, we canvassed all the farmers on salt spray to get their favorite varieties. And then we had an incredible artists from Victoria, do a 50% reduction. So each of these apples are 50% of the size of the regular apple. And we put them together 60 apples, and we sell these for $20. And all the money goes to solid, which is sending money to South Africa. And so that's one of the things that the apple festival sponsors every year. Okay, let's get into this incredible history. So this is basically the whole apple history from 1860 onwards. Not much has changed in Saltspring in 95 years. This is not a post picture. I've got rubber wheels, he's got metal. He's got wooden boxes, I've got plastic boxes, I've got color photographs, he's got black and white. That's about it. He's getting roughly two cents a pound for apples I'm getting in Victoria getting to 50 a pound. So there's about 100 over 100 times more coming in financially. Now, let's talk a little more seriously about the things that are still the same.

Speaker 1 4:17
Four of the major difficulties that used to exist and still exist in farming on Saltspring. Number one is farm labor, difficult to get them and difficult to get now. And what happened to a lot of cases and I'll talk about a little bit later is the ethnic folk such as the Japanese and the natives were able to be purchased cheaper. So they were the ones that used a lot of the real hard labor, and they were getting maybe $1.50 to $2 a day for labor. Number two, challenge is transportation. It was a transit it was a challenge then, and it's still a challenge now to connect with let's say those incredible markets and vans Whoever I connect with Victoria, but Vancouver's even more difficult. Number three, farming on Saltspring has always been very hard work then, and it's still very hard work. And no farmers then no farmers now are making much money at it. So I call it really in both cases, you're taking a vow of poverty if you choose farming. I have a quote from 1930s. From Mr. Burkett, who ran a fishing camp in St. Mary's Lake, when people came to him and went on and on about how great it was living in salt stream, he says true, true, we do have a wonderful life on this island. Oh, we like his money, and the time to enjoy it. Now, a little bit of background information. Before we get started, all apples came from an incredible Valley on the border between China and Kazakhstan. And that that valley still exists. And it still has an incredible diversity of apples growing on trees that are, you know, 40 feet tall, and the DNA and those outputs are exactly the same as a DNA in a Granny Smith, or an apple you pick up downtown, so nothing has changed. What happened there is that basically the Silk Road or the China brought apples, and much more important the seeds along that Silk Road eventually to England. And the seeds that got scattered along the way, were what allowed apples to migrate slowly over time, to Europe. And that happened in both the 1800s Apples were happening in Europe. And then the travelers coming to North America in the 1800s bought the apple seeds and the science with them. The interesting thing here is that it's stated that apples didn't gain diversity over time, they had the diversity to read from the beginning. And apples actually have twice the number of genes on their DNA that humans do. So therefore, when they cross, the diversity is just incredible. Something you can imagine the diversity, all apples need pollination, they need pollen from another tree. And that would be if you consider the idea of the pollen being a male bringing DNA over to the flower. That's how you get the combination of DNA. And that's why an apple going from seed is never equal to what the apple on the tree watch. And so if you want to create a new apple tree, you plant a seed and it will be different, the odds are it won't be as good as the tree it came from. But that's how you create new apples. And all the research people can do is to maybe control which pollen gets to that to try to make a better parent to make a better cross. So if you want to create new apple tree, you actually have to plant a seed. If you're trying to propagate an exact variety, then you graft and that's exactly what I'm doing on Saltspring and a few other people where you take a piece off a treat, and you graft it onto a root stock and then you get an exact copy of the tree. It's like a vegetative clone. Johnny Appleseed was a real person and he was taking seeds from an apple pressing facility and scattering them all over the country. And just by the number He did, He created him and other people like him create an incredible diversity that guaranteed that a few of those were going to be incredible apple trees in the United States, based on the work of people like Johnny Appleseed has an incredible diversity of apples that happened in the 1800s.

Speaker 1 9:08
On Salt Spring, we had two types of Apple farmers. We had people such as Trey ag and the commercial growers that grew 1000s up to 1500 apple trees. And then we had every other farm on the island. Every farm that existed always put in apple trees because apples were one of the staple foods you could count on even if they weren't selling them. They at least had them in their in their food supply for their own type of people. We'll talk about two different two different types of those growers when you get going. Generally speaking Saltspring started about 1860 with theater triggy. We'll talk a little bit about more him and about him in the future. And then it takes about five years. For an apple to start producing, so nothing happened great at the beginning until you got those trees rolling. And they might produce after five, but they don't really produce much until they get to be eight or 10 years old. So it turns out all the growers that were coming in the 1860s 1870s 1980s, which is when most of our commercial growers came here, they didn't really hit good production till about 1890 at about 1900. And that was the peak of the apple growing on Saltspring. So it peaked about, let's say, 1900. And then what happened, a couple of things came to sort of sabotage us, we were supplying almost all the apples for British Columbia. In those years. Now, we didn't have a lot of areas so we could never supply a big population, but we could supply what is what was needed in British Columbia at the time. Then a couple of things happen. The Okanagan, at that point, didn't have rural electricity, so they had no irrigation. And the Okanagan needs irrigation because it's so much hotter and drier than we are we the type of trees we're on Saltzman don't need irrigation. And that's, I think, producing even a better tasting apple. But nevertheless, when the Okanagan started getting that rural electricity, they could irrigate. And so it was 1920. The Okanagan basically took over and never looked back. And they are now the main opera producing area in British Columbia. The other thing that happened, and it's really obvious reading March, Stratton's book that I just got a hold of, was it the effect of the war during the war, a couple of things happened. First of all, a lot of the men went off to war, some of them didn't come back, it created real hardships. And then after the war, it was almost like a mini depression. And then that kept going and really hit in 2009, when the depression so those were amazing the hard times on Saltspring. And in the 30s, records, or even pulling out some of their apple trees, because there wasn't a real market for it. So that was basically Salt Springs heyday was about 1890 to 1900. And we were supplying apples to basically all of British Columbia. And we'll talk about some anecdotes from that right now. So some of the growers that I'm going to mention now, these are the commercial growers, you can guarantee that any farm existing on Saltspring had apple trees, they might have only had 10 or 20 just enough to do them. But these are the commercial growers. So tradie would be number one, he started with 1860 and he had about 1600 Trees Papin burger which is exactly the farm right next door to ruckle. Just as you're going down in the record firm it started with 1870 Henry Rocco 1872. Mr. Purdy, which is grandfather to Don right here. I love his name was raffles Augustus Robert Purdy. And he started here about at Navy door and everybody here knows his place because if you drive down Bettis and find that barn in the middle of the road, that's his farm. Samuel Bettis at the end of the bed is right in their bed. His speech started with 1885. And they were family related parties and the badasses. Mr. Bullock was at 92 Mr. Scott at 92. Mr. Hamilton, which you probably don't know, but we'll talk about him a little bit later, he was out along Isabella point at Fern Creek Farm. And then probably the land I'm on right now was Mr. monk's land. And that was 1904. So that was basically the timeline of all those commercial growers that started on salt spray. And the other thing that those growers did is in those days, they had diversity which you couldn't believe and I have a list of all the different growers here. They all had, they had some of the standard varieties like King and Wolf forever, but boy, they had other incredible variety. So I'm not sure what induced those those farmers to go diversity but they sure realize that diversity was important. Another one, by the way, is Canada Rinette. So they were all very important, Mr. Hamilton they just mentioned was the only one to create a Saltspring apple variety and he he crossed a wealthy and a king and came up with an apple called millionaire so that is And now for Brady from Salzburg. Okay, I think to get some, some concrete ideas on this. I'm going to do a little slideshow now. And after that, I'll get back and we'll talk about all this continued history. Okay, so this is will Scott and we'll show a picture of his farm a little bit later. This is theater tre Gi. And I found that there is two ways of spelling that name. There's it's spelt with an ag E an E, G, so which is correct, I'm not sure. He was one of the reporters for the South End. And this was his report in 89. of total south end. So this wasn't just his farm, but he's reporting 30 tons of apples produced in the south end at 92. So again, this is the peak of Salt Spring. About that time. Mr. Purdy was reporting for the north end, right right around this area at Central and he was reporting 15 tons from this area of central here to amazing when you think about looking at some of the actual production of apples in around the late 1800s, Henry Bullock, which is on upper Ganges or lower, upper again, producing two to 3000 boxes of apples, which at 40 pounds of box an incredible amount of fruit. Mr. Lee and Lee in around Lee's Hill 2000, Mr. tradekey 2400. And the Scott brothers producing in this case, they've produced a lot of plums, they produce 20 tons of plums, which they actually dehydrated in the evaporators. So that's an incredible amount of fruit. And what was happening they were getting two to four cents a pound, which was pretty, pretty low. Labor, as we said was always a difficulty. Whites and half breeds in that period night at night. We're getting about $1.50 a day with room and board. Three of the theater Craigie was trying to pay $1 a day, but he said it was hard to find, so maybe he wasn't paying enough. And Mr. Bullock 50 cents a day for the Japanese. And Japanese laborers were scarce and expensive. But during winter, they cost 75 cents per day and the board themself. And I think one of the things we have to acknowledge here is the value and the importance of some of those Japanese workers here that helped. If you think of record farm, where were the biggest trees growing they were going down in the bottom lands, which is the now the present day farmland. That's where you've got all those incredible trees you have to remove and it was a Japanese workers that helped to get rid of those trees. It seems to be functioning. Okay, we seem to have Okay, sounds good. Okay, so this is Mr. tradies farm. And right here is the bottom of Bridgman Road, which is just down from the beaver point. Or if you go to beaver pond, take a right, then that brings you down Bridgman. And then you get along here and you come along, man Henyk. And this is Russell island here. This is Portland and this is Moresby. And that's the last Island in Canada. Everything else here is us. And this is another shot from his orchard, probably fairly young, because these trees here were fairly young. So he wouldn't be a commercial grower. In this case, the Starks were not a commercial grower. These were simply apples that they had for their own use. And this is Silvia Stark, she was one of the Stobi and Louie were one of the first pioneers around 1860 on Saltspring.

Speaker 1 19:01
This is an incredible photograph from the Saanich fair, this is a display of Saltspring produce. And they've taken this one step further and taken some liberties and had an artist put some color to that. Because if you notice, all those fruits were displayed, they had display patterns on the fruit. And so that was amazing when you look at that that was 819 18 Now this is the record farm 1908 and Lotus who I had the great pleasure and luck to get to interview quite a bit, told me that this was not this was a post picture because the women at Oracle did not pick and again, these are the wives here of the first two ruffles. Daniel and Alfred. Alfred, who's this his wife, he's the one he was the builder. So Alfred is the one that build that beautiful Queen Anne's house. When you first come into Rocco, and he was also one of the main builders of beaver point Hall, which happened about 1937 And there's an amazing story there that came via Lotus again, on piers island just off Swartz Bay used to be a prison and the Duke of Boers were housed there for some reason. And when they tore that down, Alfred, the builder got all the windows to ruckle and he was going to probably do a greenhouse but they needed them up at Beaver point Hall. So all those beautiful windows you see and beaver point Hall all came from that prison on piers Island. And if you look at Beaver point Hall, you'll see all sorts of diagonal for side walls on the inside. And that's exactly the same type of wall as they had down in the Queensland's house. And on record firm. Quite amazing. Now, this is just Scott here, bringing in his apples in 1920. We'll have a picture of here we go. This is well Scott's place. This is Fruitvale which is out long harbor road. And there's an interesting story here that originally this was the Louis Stark farm. But for some reason the natives and the blacks did not get along well. And so what eventually happened is all the blacks moved to the interior Saltspring leaving this sort of farm available, and so Louis bought that from the search. This is Anna and Henry Caldwell up in the north end up near Walker hook and another black farmer up in there is Clark WIMS. And it's interesting that Bob Whedon lives on what was called WIMS farm up in that particular area. And this is on Bridgman orchard, which is related to Nancy. This is the same farmers trade he had so tricky theater Trekkies farm in 1860 went to the bridge ones. And then from the bridge, they went to court him in Henyk, which is where Lotus ruckle was raised as a teenager and then it is now in the family of the beaches, which is wave Hill Farm. So that's been the traditional pattern of that. And in the early days when trachea bought this he owned from the beaver point Hall in fact, the 40 acre beaver point Hall Park was part of tradies land he owned breaks through to the rock salt restaurant. In fact, he owned the house right across the road than Bruce Patterson lives in. And theater tricky is buried just up man, honey, just that Morningside vote. Let's see 20 houses so he owned all that land right over top of what we call reginal. Hill. They also used to call that tricky mountain. But anyway, that was apparently just a nickname. So this is down on the Bridgman property news nearest we can figure out the women actually did picking there. So these are related through to Nancy Braithwaite and to Brian de pena. Is that right? Which one, Nancy? Okay, the one in the right here. Oh, my goodness, fantastic. Isn't that nice? Thank you. The other thing you can see here is this photograph shows you putting apples into boxes. And that itself tells you that the apples are going to a higher level usin processing. So anytime you use boxes, those apples were going, hopefully, to be sold as eating apples. And so that's what they're doing here is collecting them into. In this case, in the monk orchard, probably I would say in the 30s or 40s. The fact those are on the ground shows they're going into a processing system. And they were generally bagged because bags were cheap. And I can't identify these two people but I believe it's on the monk farm which is down the bottom of King road. At one point, apple boxes were worth 50 cents and the apples when you sold them are worth about 70 cents. And so there is no reason to buy a box and only get the difference at 20 cents for the apples in the box. Now this is down again on Tracy's original farm but this is at a time 1945 When it was owned by corium and Henyk. And this is a little log cabin down on Bridgman, and this was The Cider House. So we'll talk a little bit more about Cory min Hendrix. cider because it's an amazing story, and these are Lotus Rocco's two brothers here that are drinking some of the profits. This is a great view of Ganges 1930s. What I want to show you now is up in here, that is all in behind the the middle school and down on I guess it's Park Road and behind that, that was all orchard at one time and this was owned by one of the Scots I believe was just Scott. Frank Scott. Okay, thank you. I always say that I learned a lot and I get four people feeding me information on one of these days. So that's good. Okay, my brother was doing a lot of shipping and consolidating. And so this is an ad from The Times columnist 1938, where they're looking for King apples this was some plums being dried into prunes on Fruitvale, which is the Scott orchard de willscot. Orchard. 125 This is some of the Japanese that helped on Mr. Bullock's farm. And I put this in as a tribute to those folk. All the folk like that, that were not being paid very much. And yet they helped make this into an incredible agricultural area. They worked hard. Chris Hadfield down on his farm, which is Cushing, coal, Cushing coal farm, has done a lot of digging up in the old dumps down there, getting all the Chinese pottery and that out and the Chinese in his case, we're working in an old lumber mill, but it shows you there's almost no history of those people being here. And so he's got some of the little history that exists the both the ethnic folk that came in and helped make this island so good. I wanted to take a look at transportation because it was one of the one of the things that was difficult in the early days. But basically what happened was boats would call in before 1990. They call him once or twice a week at all these dwarfs so the worst became the real focus of transportation on Saltspring. This is the beaver point wharf made by Henry Rocco. And the only thing left there at this moment if you're down at ruckle there's a bit of a cement foundation up in here for this house. But an incredible incredible story here in the 20s. I think the mail came in twice a week here. And there's also a story about Bruce Patterson's grandfather being at night getting a flash of light from a boat here which is probably a run runner and him coming out and giving a run runner some gas to keep going. So some amazing stories anyways, this is something this by the late 50s This This wharf was gone. This is a picture from the side of that same wharf. So in other words, there is a building out on the wharf here and the house, the little store that they're running is in here. This is the Burgoyne Bay wharf. It's hard to imagine these days are there enough activity to keep that going but there was a lot of activity in those days of this work. This is Fulford Harbour. Again, it was quite an active place 1905 This is the Joan you hear about a lot about the Joan it was a fair sized boat. And

Speaker 1 29:04
this is approaching Vesuvius what would seem to happen is the boats would come up one side or the other. So on one side they would do Vesuvius and Burgoyne they come up the other side they do beaver point, Ganges, Fernwood. Now, this is a wharf that there's very little evidence of, but this is the triggy Wharf, which is down right at the bottom of Richmond Road and this was gone by 1920. Sorry, 1930. But it's interesting that Lotus and her family, Korean Henyk was her stepfather. They They arrived here by boat from Victoria with all their furniture on the end of this Wharf, and then this was connected right through to Bridgman road, and that's how they got their furniture onto Saltspring. So that was quite an amazing thing. I had to throw this in because this is one of the first pictures of the salt spring market. So we have Jesse bond here, which is Malcolm bonds father. We have Alan hedger here which I got to know him a little bit, we got a few good stories about him. And I never did know, but this apparently is Harvey Brundage. In the early days, the very early days, some of these pioneers, especially on the south end use to actually roll their produce to over to Sydney. And what I've got here is an account that Mr. Monk did have a one day trip over to Sydney, in his boat. In this case, he had a motor boat, so he wasn't rowing. But in the very early days, they were rowing back and forth

Speaker 1 30:51
the other thing had happened there was private worse, so there was a worst out on Fruitvale will Scott had a private wharf and Bullock had their own private boats. So they actually looked after their own transportation in about 1905, Malcolm and purpose and then later the molex got involved and they started dealing with transportation. So that worked out quite alright to 1915 There was a beaver points store, right at the wharf at Beaver point. And Musgrave landing even had a private dock when you when you it's hard to imagine that there's so little going on at most grade these days. But the fact that there wasn't worth there is amazing 1902 The freight costs to Victorian Nanaimo was $202.50 a tonne, or 2025 cents per package or per land. Okay, thank you. Thank you. Okay, we're going to flip a little bit more into modern things right now just to wind this slideshow up. This is a weapon Tang graph. This is how you would take a root sock rootstock being the the size controlling part of the tree and attach it to have a piece of pencil sized piece from the top of the tree that you want. And that's how you would get a grafted tree operating. And the whole thing is now that the SAP has to flow across this route, so you want this thing to be attached very precisely. It's wrapped up in tape to make sure it doesn't dry up. And this is what it looks like when it's done. So that is pretty pretty good. Once the graphs are done, they I usually keep them for about a month in warm weather and next to callus or heal the wound. And then they go out vote first of April or so. Our good old Saltspring Apple Festival this year we displayed a record 430 apple varieties and I believe that's a record in Canada where we I don't think anybody's displaying that Minneapolis raiders and they were all grown on Saltspring and all grown organically. Again, some of the things we do here are these red flesh apples. This is called Pink Delete. And this gives you an example of diversity as well all the different colors of apples that we grow here different colors of flesh and anything that's red also displays a red blossom so the first sign you've got a red flesh tree is a red blossom and about half of the red flesh trees also have red wood so that's a good indication to be sending with red wood. You know it's fun to have red flesh we have some great artists here and Amara Gabrielle has done up these beautiful these Originally she did were huge paintings and then she put these into a little car and then this is that poster I was showing you vote and I've just split it up to show you some of the apples This is one I grow for instance so everybody here this is one that grows on Mr. Purdy's Mr. Raffles Augustus Robert pretty near the effect it's right near the barn on baddest the barn and six out that tree and I grabbed a couple of these every year for the Apple festival because they're huge apples and they they are such a good thing for display they they're the first thing that everybody notice him display and Linda England who runs love my kitchen claims these are the best apples for baking. Okay, that's enough for the slideshow. So we'll get back to this talking so Yeah, let's thank you

Speaker 1 35:13
so the importance of those dwarfs in the early days cannot be understated. The other thing that's important is that when a boat arrived at those wars, it became a social event. People came out because it was exciting. And they it was, you know, one of the highlights of the day you'd be down to the wharf area and people would be dressed up, they dressed up in, in fine costumes, and it became a real event. So quite an active it would be one of the real treats if you could go back in time for any of us to be able to go and relive one of those votes coming into one of those warps. Yes, yeah. You know, another neat story that Lotus told me was in the early days. She moved to Salt Spring in 1920. And she lived on Corys firm on Bridgman until 2009 when she got married, making 30 She got married. Anyways. The boat the parent in the mail came twice a week, but it was only delivered once I think on the Tuesday she would ride down her bear back on her horse from Bridgman down to Rocco to pick up the mail. And, you know, I can't imagine Lotus I knew her as a you know, really sophisticated lady, but her writing down bareback to to record Park. And one of the other stories she always told me on the Thursday when she had down there, she said, I can't believe it. But every time I went down there, Gordon was there to help me off the horse and she didn't know what the coincidence was. She married him. And she said he was always there to help me get off. It was great to start. Okay, just trying to pull this all together. In a book at 95, the population suffering is estimated 450 People consisting of 62 married couples. So that was

Speaker 1 37:21
1903 They started a daily fruit train that went all the way from Victoria to Winnipeg. So again, that was one of the real good ways of getting fruit spread out to different parts of the country. As I said earlier, Rocco's 1930 started pulling out some of the fruit trees because the market is falling away for that. And I'll talk about a lot in the air in those days, a lot of that fruit would go into processing, so when you sell it into processing, you're not making as much as if you're selling it into fresh eating. The records at that point started doing creating seed potatoes for the Sebago potato, which is one of the things that they were they were growing seed for the sabbatical, down on, on on record.

Speaker 1 38:18
Okay, so let's take a wander back here. And we'll take a look at some of these things here. As I said, probably the very first presence of agriculture was in about 1860, Jonathan big, who was only on Saltspring, a very few years, but he actually started nursery. And so he was one of the ones supplying fruit trees in the early 1860s. And I could never understand. I knew he didn't have time to grow them himself. But I found out later that he was sourcing those from established nurseries and California and Oregon. But even then, you can imagine how difficult it was to get those things up here. Just amazing. Then we had theater tricky, who apparently searched out the whole island, checking out the soil and all the island and settled on that place in the South as the best. He apparently was quite sick. And it was a native woman that nursed him back to health and he married her and that was one of the best things he did. Soviet stark as they said, they initially started out on Long Harbor on Fruitvale and then moved in and carrier up to a road now that's named after them Stark road. They were a good example of a homestead orchard. And then the betta saw Richard was right down at Venice Beach. And that's an interesting concept there. What they did is they actually had apples with them when they first came here, and they planted the apple seeds. The apple seeds grew And that's what they use for rootstocks for the following year, the head of which is science, science, or the pencil sized piece of wood that you graft with. They had a bunch of science sent from Ireland. And they were then ready to graph their science onto the seed growing rootstock that they created the year before. So that was quite interesting. Mary England tells a great story about 1880. Her father, which was raffles, Augustus Robert Purdy, I love that name. He saw a sign in London, England that said, come to the new land, which was British Columbia, tickle the soil with a spade and it smiles with the harvest. And so he got here in 1884, and he bought bought 125 acres of land there, which most of the family still lives on. He planted about 1000 fruit trees, and we had them in the Apple festival two years ago, and hopefully there'll be in again. Yeah, you wouldn't believe fruit tree shy on here? No. Do you have an apples to apples? Oh, yes. Yes, good point. I, yeah. That was interesting. The science coming from Ireland. People were so smart in those days, they just took the piece of wood, shoved it into a potato, and that kept it moist for the trip here. Thank you. That was great. Okay, let's, let's flip over to cider now, because I didn't realize it until I started talking to a few people from those days that in the 1920s, there wasn't a lot of money to be out here. And cider was one of the main things that kept food on the table of all those farmers. So Cory min Henyk, who lived who lived on theater Trekkies, old land was one of the apparently the best cider makers on Saltspring. And he was also a mining engineer. So he would work up in the choke Lake area of British Columbia as a mining engineer. But the story was he always came home. At the time when the Gravenstein is ready to be harvested. His grabbing scenes were his favorite apple for cider. And lotus in the 20s used to be the one that helped throw the apples into his grinder. It was a hand grinder and a hand press. So I mean, a lot of work to make that cider he had apparently 20 oak barrels that he filled. And that was his cider. He apparently cider sold for 75 cents a gallon. And you can imagine the middle of the winter, when there was no other products for sale, that would bring in a little bit of money that would keep food on the table. In the 30 Cider parties were very popular on the island. It was a gathering place and so I'm sure there were lots of lots of gathering. So that meant Henyk cider place that you saw. Prohibition was in effect in 1924. So that created a bit of a problem because it then became illegal to sell cider. So you couldn't sell cider with more than 8% alcohol but most of the Saltspring cider was up around 11%. So they figured that someone must have squealed somehow because at one point, Mr. Purdy, Mr. Rogers on the crown Bert and Matt Hendricks all got fined and they got fined $400, which an outrageous amount of money in those days. But apparently according to the story here. Gavin mode helped get that fine to disappear. So I don't know. Interesting story. That was That incident about them. getting fined was very embarrassing to Lotus because she was going up to high school at the time and here. her stepfather just been fine for selling cider. There's one interesting story is Don Frazier lotuses brother decided he wanted to do a subdivision down in that area a lot wrong man Henyk and sold off all the land. That snowman headache made no money cut down the Gravenstein tree so Lotus was never happy about the fact there was no money to be made from all that land. Okay, let's take a look at some of the some of the common short anecdotes. In the 20s when many fruit trees were being removed companies such as the Empress manufacturer, required apples for jellies and filters and a filler from Many varieties of jams. So they took 40 to 50 tons of apples each year. And another place said was Vickers and the Sydney canning company would cease production in 1920. So again, when those were going to lease they were buying maybe not getting much for apples, but at least you had a source. So once those once those manufacturers went out of business that made it much more difficult. In 1894, fruit trees out numbered Saltspring residents by 10 to one. So there's roughly 45 450 residents and about 4600 apple trees. So that's quite a record. I'm not sure what they're at now.

Speaker 1 45:49
So they said the Okanagan came in the 20s with once they got irrigation, and I still believe that non irrigated tree produces a much better tasting Apple anyway. The biggest Apple grown on Salt Spring was the glory of Monday, which weighed 24 ounces, and it could be up to five inches across now that beaten Heimer, which is grown on pretty farmers a big one also.

Speaker 1 46:26
In the 1920s, and 30s, local farmers sometimes couldn't pay for their stay at the hospital or their doctors. And so what they would do they pay with food barter with food, and that we need at least to pay for their medical services. The 1915 Fall fair, had prizes for 24 Different kinds of apples. If you look at what we're at now, I think we have prizes for maybe eight varieties of apples. So you know, there was prizes for quite a bit 1917 They had prizes for 27 different types of apples. So even the diversity of our fall Fair has shrunk. I got a neat story, which I personally heard from Alan hedger, he was quite a character and he was one of the original marketeers downer Saltspring market. They were talking about the Ben Davis Apple, the Ben Davis was not necessarily very good apple, but it would keep well so we have to think like a pioneer. If you were a pioneer in March and you would have been Davis, you didn't care that tasted good. Get an apple and it got you through to the summer till something else was available. So, Mr. hedger always said he had a wry sense of humor and just a hint of a smile when he said that he always said the Ben Davis was as good in March as it wasn't October. Of course, it wasn't very good in October either. And then Lotus sorry, when Rachael always told the story about having said and I don't know who sent it. I don't think it was off record. They sent a load of Ben Davis samples to Australia, where it was rejected and sent back to Canada and arrived in exactly the same condition. So that was an apple that was like a Tesla on the one interesting story though, whoever is it the Ben Davis was one of the apples that they used to create Cortland, so that's an idea of how you those jeans, just because they're coming from Apple, it's maybe not that good, can become something better. So next time you to Courtland which we don't see much unselfie we see a few of them. That's got Ben Davis genes. Low DiSalvo. He also told me that they had an apple tree down on Cory Min henig's farm on Bridgman that was called the blue pair me. And Lotus always called it Permian so I have to call it like lotus that permits so that Apple they treasured so much, they wouldn't even sell those to their neighbors, which were the Bridgman, they kept them off for themselves. And it is an apple that has a beautiful blue blush on it looks blue when it's on the tree, like a steel blue. According to Harry bapta, he met his wife Margaret monk at the Manhattan exciter house. Margaret monk used to assemble apple boxes for her father. So those boxes, those apple boxes they used in the old days came as a package where the the pieces weren't put together, and then everybody had to put them together. Ted DODDS would also assemble apple boxes for his father and emperors jam company from Victoria wood over will also bring over a trunk and pay $1 per box for grounders. So you could sell the bucks for $2 It was good apples but it was only half of that. If They were grounders another one that put boxes it was David whether all he was a he was a pioneer and not a pioneer, but he had relatives here the Scots and he used to put apple boxes together

Unknown Speaker 50:24
okay, so let's shift to the next

Speaker 1 50:36
okay, what I've got here is a one day journey by Mr. Monk. And this was on April 25 1918. So in other words, this would be towards the end of the apple season. But he still had some apples left. And what he was doing is taking over to Sydney to sell. And the nice thing about this is it's very detailed. And it also tells me what he was buying. So we have an idea of the relative the relative value of what he was buying. So basically, he leaves at 5:30pm in his boat, for Sydney, he's got 10 boxes of apples, and he gets there at 7pm. He's running without his Magneto, because he's just running on the battery. So that's a chance, you know, to go all that far without having to Magneto. Anyways. He left Sydney at 8pm and Harvard, anchored in North Sydney and walked back to Sydney by the road. And he stayed overnight, at a place there for $1.50. So he's only getting $2 A box for apples. He has seven boxes, and he is very detailed. He tells me exactly what type of apples and who bought it. So he had seven boxes at Kings, number one kings, bought by a person called Metro and he got $14 for it. So the nice thing about that is you know exactly what he's getting. Number two kings, he's only getting $1.50. And number three kings, he's getting $1.25 bucks. Now the interesting thing is what he's buying. So one piece of back bacon, he's paying $1.70, which is almost a box of apples, you know, now if you want to merely make that applicable, then you know, I sell a box of apples for a book $100.40 pounds, Apple $200. So he's paid a good percentage of $100 for back bacon, for packages are raisins for 50 cents and for cakes and maple syrup for 57 cents. He's buying his his turnip seeds for 50 cents and his carrot seeds for 35. He buys a pair of boots for $7.50 for himself, and he buys a pair of boots for his his daughter for $4. So again, $4 is two boxes of apples, which if you look at that, you know and I translate to modern times, that's $200. So wow, you know why these people are not making very much money. The other thing that he bought from his other records here is $1 for a quart of wood. So now we're paying 300 Plus I guess for that so half a box of apples bought him a quart of wood in those they so that's one case where he maybe was getting a better deal than we get nowadays. The other thing and I'm lucky enough to have for Mr. Monk, and I won't go over it. But I have the complete farm records for for about three years, which tells every detail of what he sold, etc. What he bought, so that's quite amazing. He was for instance, again, two bucks, two bucks a box for apples. He was buying hands at $1.50 each. So again, three quarters of a box of apples for a hand and a duck was two bucks. So that would be a box of apples for a duck and her hug was $5 So that would be two and a half bucks in the raffles for a hug so life was an easy and as they say in those things that are oh, we laugh It's money and the time to enjoy. So I think that's enough detail for now. Any questions?

Unknown Speaker 54:56
Heard that they had an apple train nearly 20 to say Trudeau Victoria to Winnipeg. Yep. To the rail cars on a ferry.

Speaker 1 55:06
They must do it. They do the same now, but I'm not sure that would be interesting fact they must have had that. Yeah, that same sort of thing they have now see spin as mine sitting right off the sports bait. Yep, they must have to

Unknown Speaker 55:18
do that. Maybe National Railways ran a ferry called Canara. It was actually commissioned by the Canadian Northern Railway, which became part of the end. And it started running unbelievable in 1910. And it ran from Victoria into Vancouver. Wow, it actually just pushed the rail cars on and off it went. Same thing coming back. Okay. 1910 the dock is I think it's called the Bay Street Bridge. And the dock was just on the seaward side of the Bay Street Bridge, where the old point home shipyard was down in there.

Speaker 1 55:58
And so they were going all the way from the Harvard majority of the harbor as well