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Canada: Apple growers wrap up season cut short by weather

The last few supplies of the latest apple season are set to go out this week, and after a year in which the crop was severely cut down by harsh weather, Ontario apple growers are hoping next year will be much better.

“Most of the major apple packers in Ontario are done for the season,” said Tom O'Neill, general manager for the Norfolk Fruit Growers' Association in Simco, Ontario. “The others will finish up in about a week.” While growers typically harvest about 9 million bushels of apples a season, production was significantly short of that this year.

“It's estimated that we'll have about 1.3 million bushels this season,” noted O'Neill. That kind of production was typical for many growers in the eastern parts of Canada and the US. From New York to Michigan to Ontario, early warm weather followed by cold conditions wreaked havoc throughout apple orchards.

Lower supplies made for higher prices, noted O'Neill, with pricing up almost 50 percent compared to the previous season. Frost damage also caused a larger proportion of fruit to go to processing rather than the fresh market. But O'Neill is hoping the situation changes this upcoming season.

“There are a few Red Delicious, Empire and Idared apples left,” said O'Neill. “We're now looking forward to a good upcoming season.”

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