Union Brand Apples

UNION BRAND

GOLDEN RUSSETT APPLES

THE FIRST APPLE TREES CAME TO NOVA SCOTIA IN THE 1600’S BY FRENCH SETTLERS WHO CAME TO NOVA SCOTIA CHASING THE CODFISH.  WITH THE FAVOURABLE MICRO-CLIMATE OF THE ANNAPOLIS VALLEY, APPLE GROWING THRIVED IN NOVA SCOTIA AND IN THE 1800’S AN EXPORT MARKET WAS DEVELOPED.

THE GOLDEN RUSSET(T) WAS PERHAPS AN UNLIKELY FAVOURITE IN THAT IT’S SKIN IS “RUSSETED” AND LACKS THE SHINY RED THAT SOME WOULD LOOK FOR.  THE RUSSET WAS VERY POPULAR IN GREAT BRITAIN BOTH AS AN EATING APPLE & FOR MAKING CIDER.

IN 1890, THE MCKINLEY TARIFF ESSENTIALLY SHUT DOWN THE AMERICAN EXPORT MARKET FOR NOVA SCOTIAN FRUIT.  GREAT BRITAIN THEN BECAME THE BIGGEST MARKET FOR NOVA SCOTIA’S ABUNDANT APPLES AND THIS TRANSLATED INTO THE DESIGN OF MANY LABELS THAT WERE AFFIXED TO THE WOODEN BARRELS OF APPLES FOR EXPORT.

FOR SOME TIME, NOVA SCOTIA FRUIT WAS POPULAR BECAUSE OF ITS PRICE AND NOT NECESSARILY FOR ITS QUALITY.  IN 1905, THE EXPERIMENTAL FARM WAS ESTABLISHED IN KENTVILLE TO IMPROVE THE QUANTITY, AND QUALITY OF THE FRUIT PRODUCED.  IN 1912, A BUMPER CROP OF OVER 1 MILLION BARRELS OF APPLES WERE GROWN IN THE ANNAPOLIS VALLEY. THIS SWELLED TO 3 MILLION BARRELS IN THE 1933 GROWING SEASON.

IN THE 1930’S, THE APPLE CROP REPRESENTED HALF OF THE VALUE OF ALL THE CROPS IN KINGS COUNTY AND FULLY 3/4 OF THE CROP WAS SOLD TO THE EXPORT MARKET.  THE SPIN-OFF OF THIS INDUSTRY WAS FELT THROUGHOUT NOVA SCOTIA. THE FERTILIZER CAME FROM THE MINES IN CAPE BRETON AND LUMBER FOR THE COOPERAGES CAME FROM NOVA SCOTIA’S FORESTS.  BY SOME ESTIMATES, IN 1930, THE PRODUCTION OF BARRELS ALONE WAS A MILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY.  THERE WAS ALSO A STRONG CONNECTION WITH THE FISHERIES IN THAT BOTH INDUSTRIES SHARED MANY OF THE SAME SEASONAL WORKERS AND CERTAINLY THE SAME SHIPPING ROUTES.

THOUGH APPLES ARE NO LONGER SHIPPED IN BARRELS, CURRENT APPLE PRODUCTION IN NOVA SCOTIA IS AROUND HALF A MILLION BARRELS A YEAR.

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