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Fewer Ontario apples this year thanks to freeze


May 4, 2012
By Ontario Apple Growers

Topics
Frost damage to an apple blossom.

May 4, 2012, Vineland Ont – Ontarians can expect fewer locally grown apples in stores this fall and those that will be on the shelves will likely be more expensive.

That’s due to spring frost that has caused widespread damage to Ontario’s apple orchards. The summer-like weather in March brought apple bloom development one month early, leaving them vulnerable to the recent sub-zero temperatures.

“This is widespread damage and we’re seeing some apple farmers with 100 per cent loss in their orchards so they won’t have a crop at all this year,” says Brian Gilroy, an apple grower from the Georgian Bay area and chair of the Ontario Apple Growers. “Other farmers have varying degrees of damage, depending on their orchard location and region, but every apple grower is affected.”

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Trees may look normal but the frost has damaged the blossoms so they will not bear any fruit, and if they do, farmers will see fewer apples per tree.  Some fruit will have visible damage, including frost scaring and ridging, where apples develop ridges similar to those on pumpkins.

For consumers, this translates into fewer locally grown apples in the store, which could also result in higher apple prices. Apple growers will experience reduced yields and decreased income, yet even those farmers who have lost their entire crop will still be faced with significant costs to maintain orchards.

“For farmers who do have apples, they won’t have the quantity to sell that they normally would so we’ll definitely see fewer Ontario apples in the stores this fall,” says Gilroy. “Even if there’s no crop, you still have to maintain the orchards for future crops. You can’t just walk away.  It’s going to be a tough year for apple farmers.”