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Thanksgiving 2017:

Organic apple farmers optimistic despite harvest failure

Local apple farmers are dealing with a harvest failure of up to 70% compared to last year. This is caused by the the same weather conditions that damaged the trees in 2017.

However, the organic farmers are not too worried. They rely on their long-standing relationships with the natural food retail trade and are aware of the buying habits of consumers of organic products.

Boskop, Cox Orange, Golden Delicious, Elstar, Braeburn, Jonagold or Granny Smith. German consumers love apples. Every German eats on average up to 40 kilos every year. Especially loved is the organic apple, preferably from the region. At present, 7.000 hectares or 16 percent of the tree farm areas (orchard areas) are used for the production of organic apples. In 2017, these areas were heavily affected by the unusually late frost, cold and continuous rainfall. The current bad apple harvest is the result. 

"The weather conditions were very bad this year," says organic farmer Dierk Augustin. He runs a Demeter-Obsthof in a region that is traditionally used for tree farms. "We are not the only ones dealing with a harvest failure. All over Europe, farmers are facing similar problems. This means that only half of the usual amount of apples is available," Augustin thinks.

"Nobody wants a bad harvest, of course. Consumers who shop in organic supermarkets know much about the holistic value of the products that are produced under strict ecological guidelines," according to Elke Röder, director of the Federal Association for Natural Food Products (BNN). She speaks on behalf of over 200 farmers, wholesalers and retailers who have very high standards for their production and trade. "This is why it is important to explain the consequences of recent weather conditions to the customers. They know that organic farmers in the region produce food products of the best quality and at the same time protect the soil, water and nature. This is achieved every year, whether there is a good or bad harvest and that is exactly what makes an organic product so valuable, especially one that was grown in the region."

The association recommends consumers to shop in organic supermarkets. Not only do they comply with the highest standards. They also offer personal advise and explain how the food production comes about. An organic product is therefore worth more than its price. 

Source: BNN

Publication date: 10/3/2017


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