We’ve had a few dozen apple stencils in our collection for some time, but a recent addition has more than doubled that number. A donation from Bill and Mary Swetnam of Sheffield Mills has resulted in a second large wall display in the cooper shop. Many of the varieties shown have long since disappeared from Nova Scotia orchards, such as Jenneting, Maiden’s Blush, Laxton’s Superb, and Fallawater.
In fact, C.M. Collins noted in the 1930s that Valley orchardists grew far too many varieties of apples. Annual admonitions from speakers at the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers (NSFGA) annual convention repeated that theme. Some varieties just didn’t produce enough fruit, lacked sufficient quality for easy marketing, or otherwise dragged down the performance of the apple industry.
Barrel stencils were used to paint the name of each variety on each three-bushel wooden barrel before leaving packing houses along the railroad tracks. Some of the larger packers printed colourful and well designed paper labels to do the same thing. NFHC has a couple of these labels on display in Heritage Hall.
An earlier donation to NFHC, a large 1941 calendar, turned out to hold a complicated four-way graph on the back, carefully hand drawn by some long-gone bookkeeper. Although the pencilled writing was badly faded in spots, we found that this record enumerated that portion of the 1941 apple crop that was handled by the North Mountain Fruit Company at Woodville. All the growers’ names were there, as well as the varieties they shipped, and the volume, in barrels, of each variety.
With 2015’s events at NFHC now over, work continues on maintenance buildings and collection of artifacts. Volunteers show up on Wednesday mornings to do what needs to be done. If any reader of this website is willing and able, NFHC can always use some help. Our monthly directors’ meetings are held the first Thursday of each month, and anyone is welcome.
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