It’s Apple Month in Nova Scotia

February is Apple Month in Nova Scotia – a month-long celebration of a fruit that’s been a staple of Nova Scotian agriculture since the first Acadian settlers brought them to our province in the 1600s. English Planters brought new varieties in the 1700s, and the rest as they say, is history. Today, more than 40 varieties of apples are grown in the province. And did you know that many varieties of Nova Scotian apples are a more brilliant red colour than apples from other climates? We can thank our sunny fall days and cool nights for that.

So just how important and iconic is the humble apple to Nova Scotia? Well, according to farm census data and provincial agriculture statistics, we have the largest acreage of apples of all the provinces in Atlantic Canada and apples are the number one fruit grown on Nova Scotian farms. The apple is also the second highest value crop grown in Nova Scotia, second only to blueberries. In addition to being sold as a fresh crop, apples are also important ingredients in other local products including juice, cider, vinegar and commercial baked goods.

Yes, we certainly love our apples in Nova Scotia. The town of Berwick is known as Nova Scotia’s Apple Capital and even has a museum that captures the history of the industry in the local area. Speaking of celebrating the apple, the Apple Blossom Festival is one of the largest festivals in Nova Scotia, and kicks off the summer tourist season in the Annapolis Valley every year. This year will mark the 83rd Apple Blossom Festival.

Hundreds of Nova Scotian farms earn income from apple production. And those farmers spend that income locally, contributing back to the communities they live in and the local economy. When you purchase local apples at a grocery store, farmers’ market, roadside farm stand, or even at a u-pick, you help support an industry that represents the fabric of our beautiful province. And if it strikes you as odd to be celebrating in the middle of winter, it shouldn’t. With modern harvesting and storage techniques (which we’re world leaders in), fresh, crisp apples are available year-round.

So how about a few other quick apple facts you might not know? Apples are actually part of the rose family. That’s why they have a rosy aroma. Apples float because they are 25% air. The McIntosh is Canada’s national apple. And here’s an interesting one…the fear of apples is known as Malusdomesticaphobia.

Just in case you need a few more reasons to enjoy local Nova Scotia apples, our friends at the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers’ Association have plenty of useful information including these nutritional facts:

  • A medium apple has only 80 calories
  • Apples are fat, sodium and cholesterol-free
  • An average apple contains about 5 grams of fibre. More than a bowl of oatmeal.
  • Apples contain high levels of boron that stimulate brain activity and help make bones healthy and strong
  • Eating a raw apple after a meal can cleanse your mouth of more than 95% of the bacteria that cause tooth decay

When you’re passing through the produce aisle or shopping for a beverage or yummy baked treat, grab some local apples or apple products and enjoy your own little slice of Apple Month.