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grower profile:

Broomholm Orchards

Middle LaHave, Nova Scotia

David Maxwell

David Maxwell
Tell us about your growing philosophy.

In general I do not like toxic chemicals on my fruit, but am neither a card-carrying organic grower nor particularly hung up on adherence to a rigid list of do's and don'ts.  I think nature is smarter than us, and we would be wise to try to work with her than against her as much as possible, recognising that our interests may not always coincide with hers, and both sides may need to bend somewhat.  (The critters can have their fair share of my crop, but not more...)

Tell us about your place on Earth.

Backyard orchard (1/6 ha.), somewhat less than 180 trees (since the round-headed apple borers and voles united in trying to reduce them), 50 + cultivars, mostly on Ottawa-3 roots, growing in Maritime zone 5b climate on edge of LaHave River, (tidal where we live), basically tending to be humid.

What draws you to growing fruit?

I like to eat fruit.  Cyder production. No toxic chemicals or fish genes in my food. Boringly pedestrian practicality - no New Age, worship of Gaia, or Inner Druid.

What holistic innovation keeps your trees rarin' to grow?

I am sold on the basic concept of holistic orcharding

How has an ecosystem approach changed your tree reality for the better?

In all fairness, I am not convinced it has. Despite loving attention encouraging healthy ability to fend off attacks by all the nasties, the game is still clearly being won by the nasties. It has encouraged cider-making (because all the infected and infested fruit can go into it.)

What might you change if you could do one thing over again in your orchard?

I've already regrafted most of my orchard to more vigorous rootstocks, (M9 to O-3), but I am not at all sure my choice was ideal. I am actually now using a range of other rootstocks to replace the trees which succumb to destruction, (mostly by RHAB)

How do you go about marketing the good fruit?

We eat most of what we grow ourselves.  The cyder is shared with British expats of our acquaintance.  I have proselytised with considerable zeal to preserve antique cultivars, and distributed scion wood widely, run grafting workshops, etc.

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