Vineland ON – Consumers can expect fewer Ontario apples on the market this fall and it’s all due to unfavourable weather during this past growing season.
A spring frost the night of May 22-23 that affected many of the province’s apple growing regions is responsible for much of the decline in this year’s apple crop, which is estimated to be down about 50 per cent from normal years.
“Mother Nature was not kind to the apple industry in Ontario this year,” says Ontario Apple Growers Chair Charles Stevens, who farms near Newcastle, Ontario. “We lost almost half of our crop due to weather, so there will definitely be fewer locally grown apples available this year.”
Apple growing regions in Eastern Ontario, the north shore of Lake Erie, and the Niagara Peninsula were particularly affected by the spring frost, which was compounded by a very cold winter and a cool, wet month in June. The summer-like temperatures at the end of August and early September were also a challenge as apples need warm days and cool nights to ripen and take on colour.
As a result, many pick your own operations and farmers’ markets will likely have limited opening hours or crop availability this fall, so Stevens recommends checking before planning a visit.
“If you’re looking to go apple picking or visit your favourite farm, it’s best to call ahead to ensure availability,” he says. “As apple growers, we appreciate how Ontarians support our apple industry and we will still have Ontario apples in the stores this fall and winter, so be sure to look for Ontario-grown.”
There are approximately 15 different varieties of apples grown on 15,000 acres in Ontario. The province’s major apple-producing areas are along the shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. The farm gate value of the Ontario apple crop is approximately $60 million, which includes sales to fresh and processing markets as well as on-farm/pick-your-own.
The Ontario Apple Growers represents the province’s 200 commercial apple farmers. Visit www.onapples.com.
Source: Ontario Apple Growers