Supplies of Ontario apples will be down this season.
Blue Mountain Fruit uses a European-inspired growing technique for its high-density orchard.
At Thornbury, ON.-based Blue Mountain Fruit Co., a high-density orchard using a European-inspired growing technique involving planting 1,000-1,500 trees per acre (as opposed to the traditional 300-500 trees per acre), Ken Lyons says the overall apple harvest is down 15 percent. While Red Prince apple supplies are equal to last year’s volume, Honeycrisp is down 20 percent in the province.
“Ontario has had some frost and hail damage depending on the region,” says Lyons. Apples are grown in Ontario along the shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Georgian Bay.
Ontario apples also saw an earlier start and end to the season this year by 10 days.
The Botden family owns the Blue Mountain Fruit Co. and grow the Red Prince apples.
Switching to new varieties
“In the next few weeks, we’re expecting strong consumer pull on apples. The consumption is moving from older varieties to newer ones such as Ambrosia and Red Prince,” says Lyons, adding that this season Red Prince apples are being bagged in an HDPE bag for recycling with accelerated biodegradability (Midori-Bio).
For Blue Mountain Fruit Co. what will help move all of its varieties is its new 135,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art computerized packing plant which has helped increase packing capacity and improve quality output. The integrated storage facility is home to a number of technological investments including an automated pre-sorter, waxer/dryer, automated weigher and bag fillers and tray fillers, computerized printing and labeling with a traceability code applied to each box, an automatic palletizer and more.
Blue Mountain has a new 135,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art computerized packing plant which has helped increase packing capacity and improve quality output.
That said, prices are up approximately eight percent over last year’s pricing. “Besides the harvest yield, there are widespread cost increases and a shortage of supplies from packaging to skids,” says Lyons.