Take a bite out of Heritage Apple Day

Derby Reach in Fort Langley readies for a fruit-filled family event on Oct. 5th

Local farmers, history buffs, and fruit enthusiasts are ripe with excitement as Heritage Apple Day rolls around for its 15th year, Saturday, Oct. 5.

Derby Reach and Brae Island Park Association (DRBIPA) holds the annual apple bash to highlight the local agriculture that makes up Langley’s culture and history.

Joakim Nilsson, board chair of DRBIPA, said the timing and themes of Thanksgiving have given Apple Day it’s community oriented flavour.

“It’s a nice opportunity to teach people the history of the area – Fort Langley has a real rich history with farms playing a big role,” Nilsson said. “It’s a chance to celebrate the harvest and remind people of our connection with food.”

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., between 18 and 24 different stands and displays will offer insight into the history of Derby Reach, as well as gardening tips, environmental practises, and of course, every aspect a person could think of when it comes to apples.

“People can come ask questions, you know, if that have their own apple trees – cooking tips as well,” Nillson explained. “There’ll be apple samples of unusual varieties like the Northern Spy; there won’t be your regular Granny Smith or Mackintosh types.”

Outdoor enthusiasts like the Langley Field Naturalists and Langley Environmental Partners (LEPS) will be also involved, the latter supplying a farm chore centre, which includes a wooden cow that curious kids can attempt to milk.

“It’s fun to see kids getting away from screens and participating in choirs and games kids from a different time would have done like jump in a hay pile,” Nillson said, confirming that there will indeed be an actual hay pile for kids to play in.

Read More: Country Celebration returns to Campbell Valley Park Sept. 8 and 9

Though tasting various outcomes of what one can do with an apple, the educational aspect is front and centre throughout the course of Apple Day.

Representatives from Fort Langley National Historic Site are set to give a a presentation while DRBIPA will be handing out self-guided tour pamphlets while showcasing some of the several-century-old trees that continue to grow.

Nillson said the orchard a few hundred meters from the event is considered one of the oldest in the province, having been planted and maintained in the mid 1800s when Fort Langley original stood in that spot.

Expecting between 700 to 900 people, Nillson also confirmed that the Langley Community Fiddlers will be one of several live entertainers. Vendors selling souvenirs, clothing, and decor will be just about the only thing absent.

“Our idea was not to make it commercial; other similar events like the Cranberry Festival and Country Celebration allow vendors, but we’ve chosen not to go that route,” Nilsson said, though he did add that local nurseries will be on site selling trees.

The festivities happen at Derby Reach Regional Park, 10716 Allard Cres – the park’s heritage area.

For more information, people can visit the Derby Reach website, drbipa.org/events-and-activities/apple-day.

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