What’s the difference between a computer and a piece of fruit? The letter A. The apple was named for it’s first promoter, John McIntosh. The computer, in homage to this well-loved fruit, is also a Mac, but with an A, Macintosh. The McIntosh, no A, was developed just a few kilometers down the road from here, in the hamlet now known as Dundela.
The first McIntosh apple tree, the tree to which all McIntosh apples you see in your supermarket today can trace their lineage, was found by John McIntosh, a United Empire Loyalist of Scottish descent, when he was clearing brush on his property.
His achievement, and that of his son Allan, in finding and promoting the apple is well-marked in little Dundela today, with multiple plaques and a large mural on the side of the community hall.
The original tree lived and produced abundant fruit until 1908. When Maida Parlow French was improving her orchard, the McIntosh was much preferred over the other variety of apple represented in her orchard, the Wealthy. Wealthy apples were developed in Minnesota for growing in areas with cold climate, and by French’s record, seem to have been easier to grow, but brought less money at market. The Botanical Society of America has a great poster that shows the development of a McIntosh apple from a bud in the spring to the ready-to-eat fruit. Check out their site.