The hot start to September, coupled with predictions for a few warm and sunny upcoming weeks are setting Ontario up for a tasty apple crop this year.
That’s after patchy light frosts in the spring left some growers in the province fearing a smaller-than-normal apple harvest for 2023. However good pollination of spring blossoms and plentiful rainfall set the stage for a good crop.
“After a dry start in spring, we had really good moisture over the summer and the lack of extreme heat in August have combined to make the trees very happy,” says Cathy McKay, who farms near Port Perry and is chair of the Ontario Apple Growers. “Sunshine is what changes an apple’s starch into sugar, so the hot, sunny weather we’re currently experiencing will increase the sugar levels and help produce great-tasting apples.”
Gala makes up 17 percent of Ontario’s total apple acreage, followed by Honeycrisp and McIntosh at 14 percent each and Ambrosia at 10 percent.
Following a plentiful crop in 2022, this year’s harvest is expected to have a similar yield. With more and more new tree plantings coming into production, consumers can expect a good supply of popular varieties like Honeycrisp, Ambrosia and Gala.
“We encourage Ontarians to plan a visit to a farm market or a pick-your-own operation to enjoy fresh Ontario apples this fall or to keep an eye out for Foodland Ontario signs while they’re grocery shopping,” adds McKay. “Don’t forget, apples aren’t just a fall crop in Ontario. Thanks to modern storage technology, apples are kept fresh and available throughout the winter months for us to enjoy.”
Ontario farmers grow approximately 15 main varieties of apples along the shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Gala makes up 17 percent of Ontario’s total apple acreage, followed by Honeycrisp and McIntosh at 14 percent each and Ambrosia at 10 percent.
Sensory research completed by the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre has shown that 89 percent of Ontario consumers prefer juicy, crisp and sweet apples and Ontario’s three most popular varieties – Gala, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia – all have those characteristics. The farm gate value of the Ontario apple crop is approximately $100 million, which includes sales to fresh and processing markets as well as on-farm/pick-your-own.
The Ontario Apple Growers represents the province’s 200 commercial apple farmers.
For more information:
Ontario Apple Growers
Tel: +1 (905) 440-0966