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Honeycrisps help bring back profitability to Nova Scotia apple farms
Over the past 15 years, Jonathan Fuller tells us that his farm in Avonport, N.S., has flourished, due to in part to the ongoing success of the Honeycrisp apple variety.
"My father passed away 15 years ago. He never really saw any money coming into the farm. A lot of older guys never saw returns like this," he said.
Larry Lutz, vice president of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association, says the Honeycrisp variety brings in $700 to $800 dollars per bin, five times as much as some traditional varieties such as MacIntosh or Cortland and double or triple some others.
Lutz, who has a farm in Rockland, south of Berwick, was among the first growers to plant the variety in the late 90s.
"All of a sudden this one came along. which finally we could start to get enough money to cover our costs, and have a little left over. It's made a huge difference," he said. "People are re-investing in orchards. Young people are coming back to the farms. It's the biggest single change that's ever happened to our industry."
Honeycrisp currently accounts for 25 per cent of Lutz's crop. He plans to expand so that in a few years it will make up half of his production.
While they fetch a good price, Honeycrisp isn't all sunshine and rainbows. The apples are also more time consuming to pick.
"We spent twice as much time picking them. We put on a lot more calcium sprays to keep them from developing any disorder. It's a lot more expensive to produce, but the returns are justifying it," Lutz said.
Publication date: 10/12/2017
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