[NAFEX] Introduction of apples to North America

David.Maxwell at dal.ca David.Maxwell at dal.ca
Fri Nov 9 10:03:43 EST 2007

I understand that apples are not native to the Americas.  Who brought them?   
Champlain wrote in 1605 that "the cold was so intense that the cider was divided by 
an axe..." (not clear whether this cider had been brewed in New France, or brought 
with them from France.)  He also records taking fruit trees with him in 1606 to plant 
in Quebec.  Poutrincourt made a number of trips between France and Acadie 
between 1605 and 1610, bringing "seeds of all kinds", and Lescarbot in 1610, 
writing about the Port Royal habitation, makes reference to the good harvest that 
year "except for the trees they planted, which are not so prompt in bearing". Simon 
de Rasilly, who established Fort Ste. Marie de Grace at the mouth of the LaHave 
River in Nova Scotia, (about 5 km. from my present day house), in 1632, recorded 
in his diary planting apple trees to supply the fort with cider, and Nicolas Denys in 
1635 reported seeing several apple and pear trees, well rooted and in good 
condition at Port LaTour, across the river from the Fort. He also makes reference to 
"apple and pear trees which are well started but not yet in condition to bear, since 
they were brought small from France", (suggesting that they were not just planting 
seeds, but importing grafted trees.) Were these men responsible for introducing 
apples to North America, or were they preceded by British settlers in the Virginias?  
Or even earlier?  (I am embarrased by my ignorance of early European settlement 
of North America.)

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