In 2014 we initiated the urban orchard project by planting around 50 fruit bearing trees and bushes throughout the eight acres of land here at the museum. The main goals for the urban orchard project was to create sustainability, create an awareness of food security and to see what kinds of fruit trees and shrubs can grow within the Northern BC climate.
You will find many different types of fruit in our Urban Orchard.
We grow Zestars, Honeycrisp, September Ruby, Fall Red, Parkland and Haralson.
We also have combination apple trees; combination trees are trees that have been grafted together. Grafting a tree consists of joining different root stocks from a variety of trees, the tough outer layer of the stock must be peeled away for it to properly bind.
The benefit of having combination trees is that they pollinate each other and are a self-fruitful tree. The variety of apples that are grown on these grafted trees are Goodland, Honeycrisp, Heyer #12, and Fall Red.
We have four types of cherry trees growing at the museum, they are Valentines, Crimson Passion, Evans and Cupid. Crimson passion cherry trees are medium sized and produce dark red round fruit, that has crimson flesh and are normally ready to be picked during mid-summer. These cherries have a sweet juicy flavor and are best used for cooking, baking, and eating fresh. Valentine cherry trees are self-pollinating and produce bright cherry red fruit that are ready to be harvested in late summer. These cherries have a tart taste and are best used for cooking, baking and preserves. Evans cherry trees are self-pollinating and do not require a ton of care. The best way to eat these cherries are eating them fresh. Cupid cherries are dark red in color and are very sour so they aren’t the best to eat fresh, they do better when used in something sweet. These cherry trees are self-pollinating but will produce more fruit if pollinated by another cupid tree or another cherry tree from the same series.
Haskaps have other names and can be known as blue honeysuckle or honeyberry. The first introduction of haskaps within Canada was at Beaver Lodge, Alberta in the 1950’s. These berries are one of the first fruit crops to ripen in the growing seasons and will continue to produce berries into the fall. Harvesting of these sweet and juicy berries normally takes place in the last few weeks of June to late July. Here at the museum, we have approximately 50 bushes that we harvest the berries from each season.
The blueberries growing here are half-high blueberry plants, which mix the big berry producing high-bush types and the cold-resistant lowbush varieties. At the museum we grow Polaris, Northblue and Chippewa blueberries. All of these types are cold-resistant, and can survive in zones 2-5.
We have Pembina, Waneta and Brookgold plums. Plums need a second tree of a different variety in the pollinating area that is blooming at the same time for cross-pollination to occur. If plum trees do not have a pollinator buddy, the trees will not produce fruit.
The strawberries are located within the museum grounds and when riding the Cottonwood mini rail train and once the train exits the tunnel and goes around the curve, you will notice the two garden beds.
We have two varieties of raspberries at the museum, one is a thorn-less variety. They can be found behind the Texaco Station.