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Ontario apple production down 50 percent

Due to unfavorable weather in Ontario, consumers will see fewer local apples on the market this season. The crop is expected to be down 50 percent from normal years as a spring frost affected many of the province’s apple growing regions. “Weather conditions also cause quality and sizing to be variable this year,” says Kelly Ciceran with Ontario Apple Growers.

Photo credit: Ontario Apple Growers

Leamington/Essex and Georgian Bay least affected
Apple growing regions in Eastern Ontario, the north shore of Lake Erie, and the Niagara Peninsula were particularly affected by the spring frost, which was compounded by a very cold winter and a cool, wet month in June. “The summer-like temperatures at the end of August and early September were also a challenge as apples need warm days and cool nights to ripen and take on color,” said Ciceran.” The Leamington/Essex and Georgian Bay areas in southwest Ontario seem to have escaped from the large-scale damage.

Photo credit: Ontario Apple Growers

Impact on local availability
Most of Ontario’s apple production for the fresh market is sold within the province. “Since growers are still in the midst of harvest, it remains to be seen if there will be enough supplies to distribute Ontario apples within other parts of Canada or the US,” mentioned Ciceran. “Many pick-your-own operations and farmer’s markets will likely have limited opening hours or crop availability this fall,” says Charles Stevens, Chair of the Ontario Apple Growers. This time of the year, consumers are looking for Ontario-grown apples and lower production volumes cause the Ontario apple market to be strong.

Photo credit: Ontario Apple Growers

15,000 acres
Ontario grows approximately 15 different apples varieties on 15,000 acres. The province’s top ten apple varieties include Gala, Honeycrisp, Ambrosia, McIntosh, Empire, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Crispin, Idared and Northern Spy. Some varieties were impacted more by the frost damage than others. The farm gate value of the Ontario apple crop is approximately $60 million, which includes sales to fresh and processing markets as well as on-farm/pick-your-own. 

For more information:
Kelly Ciceran
Ontario Apple Growers
Tel: (+1) 905-688-0990 ext. 241

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