In the Okanagan, orchardist Steve Brown is satisfied with his apple yield. With some extra work, his Ambrosia, Gala and Pink Lady apples ripened nicely and turned glossy red.
“Really, we’ve had a crummy fall with lots of rain and not a lot of sunshine,” said Brown of Happy Valley Harvest in Summerland. “As a result, we were having colour problems. Apples like some sun and warmth to ripen and turn the red we like. Three weeks before harvest, we cut back some of the leaves on the apple trees so more light could get through, and we also set up white tarps to reflect the light.”
“We’re at the tail end of the harvest now, and overall it’s only been a couple of days late,” said Brown. “When all is said and done, it’s been a very good year for both quality and quantity.” In 2017, his Ambrosia apples were judged grand champion of new varieties at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. In 2018, Brown won the Golden Apple Award from the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association for overall excellence in all apple varieties.
The average annual harvest of about 80,000 tonnes of apples equates to about $51 million in revenue for orchardists, $116 million in wholesale value after being packed for shipment to stores, and $410 million in overall economic impact when trees, farm equipment, labour, taxes and retail sales are taken into account.