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Birthplace of McIntosh apple for sale

Birthplace of McIntosh apple for sale

The Dundela, Ont. farm is listed for under $900,000

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The birthplace of an iconic piece of fruit is now on the market.

A 5.5-hectare (13.5-acre) farm in Dundlea, Ont., where farmers grew the McIntosh apple, is for sale for $875,000. The original McIntosh tree on the farm burned down in the early 1900s.

It’s current owner, 76-year-old Gerd Skof, purchased the property in 1987. He never viewed it as a historic piece of land that he wanted to share with the public.

Instead, he put up signs and two layers of fencing to keep trespassers away from the property, which includes a family graveyard.

The Skofs moved out two years ago because the farm is too far away from the hospital. Since their exit, the trees have gone unpicked and someone looted the farmhouse’s furnace.

The buildings have also deteriorated, which Skof blames on bad work or tradespeople not showing up at all.

“What can you do?” he told CBC Monday.

Some people are curious about Skofs asking price.

With the farm’s current shape, someone would have to make quite the investment to spruce it up.

“Who would want to take over that job of cleaning it up?” Dean Beckstead, co-owner of Smyth’s Apple Orchard in the area, told CBC. “It would be a hell of a pile of money and work to get it presentable, and then to try to do anything with” the property.

McIntosh history

John McIntosh left New York at the age of 19 and settled near Iroquois, Ont., in 1796. In 1811, he moved to Dundela and discovered apple seedlings while clearing forest.

By 1835, John’s son, Allan, learned how to graft the stems from the original tree to make clones. Allan, who worked as a travelling preacher, spread the news of this apple.

McIntosh apples accounted for 30.6 per cent of Canadian apple production in 2013, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says.

JosephJacobs/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

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