I’ll also be enjoying my favorite fall treat: the McIntosh apple. If you have an abundance of apples, McIntoshes or otherwise, in the house on Thanksgiving, you may want to take a look at Cooking’s collection of apple-centric recipes.
[Read: 34 Desserts for Apple Season]
While the McIntosh’s crisp texture and tart flavor created a following for it in most of the world, its development as a commodity all began in 1811 about 45 minutes south of Ottawa in a hamlet now known as Dundela. There, John McIntosh discovered McIntosh No. 1 while clearing bush. After years of passing by a sign that encouraged me to leave a popular route from Ottawa to the St. Lawrence River and head instead to Dundela, I made the right turn.
Dundela is a tiny place. A handful of houses, a cemetery, a small park named, naturally, McIntosh and a variety of plaques commemorating McIntosh’s discovery. Although the McIntosh farm is long gone, a neighboring farm from Mr. McIntosh’s time, Smyth’s Apple Orchard, lives on.
One day, Mr. McIntosh found a wild version of an apple sapling he’d never seen before on his land. He transplanted and nourished the one surviving saplings. Then, years later, he used grafting to propagate the variety for commercial distribution and mass production. He traveled through Ontario and parts of the United States selling, and perhaps sometimes giving away, his trees.
The most comprehensive story of Mr. McIntosh I came across is this carefully researched article by Shane Peacock in Canada’s History magazine.