Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Canada's Fruit Basket
We live in a part of Canada known as Canada's fruit basket. The Niagara Peninsula is noted for it's peaches, cherries, apples, nectarines, plums, pears etc, etc. When we first moved here 10 years ago there were acres upon acres of orchards with little road side honour system stands.
We would witness the coming of spring with the arrival of migrant workers from Jamaica and Mexico that would work the farms and ride by our house on their bicycles to shop in town. In the past decade there has been a wine explosion and with that the fruit is gone and the booze is flowing. Hundreds and hundreds of acres of orchards around our house have been torn up and replanted with grapes. There is more money in tax revenue from booze than cherry pies. The small bonus for me is there are piles and piles of free fruit wood available at the roadside.
Labour is a large factor. The tender fruit business requires cheap labour and lots of it. The grapes for the most part can be attended to by mechanical means. Large million dollar tractors trim the leaves and pick the grapes. No climbing ladders and filling little baskets.
I thought these small hybrid apple trees were clever. Bricks tied on the limbs to train the branches to grow downward and keep the fruit closer to the ground.