While the fur trade was the first business of the Hudson's Bay Company, agriculture became its mainstay. As early as 1828, the company had four dairy farms and orchards on Sauvies Island, a Toledo grain farm, 140 square miles of sheep, cattle, and horse pasture in the Nisqually Valley, and a farm at each of its 23 forts. A year later the company's export trade to Hawaii, California, and Alaska emphasized lumber, salted salmon, and farm products.
In 1830 Clark County's first apple harvest occurred - one apple. Planted near Fort Vancouver in 1826, the Old Apple Tree is considered to be the oldest in the Northwest and the matriarch of Washington State's apple industry.
Here's how it came to be here. An English lady at a farewell dinner for Emilius Simpson, cousin of Hudson's Bay Governor Sir George Simpson, gave him the seeds from her dessert apple and asked him to plant them at the fort. Living double the normal life span of most fruit trees, the Old Apple Tree is more than 176 years old.
A festival to celebrate the tree is held each year on the first Saturday in October at historic Apple Tree Park, 112 Columbia Way, Vancouver, just east of the Interstate 5 Bridge.