While many varieties of fresh apples have finished shipping out of British Columbia, some fresh varieties remain. “There are a handful of larger operations with controlled atmosphere capacity that are still packing but overall the crop is down compared to 2021. It will run short--the industry will be out of B.C. apples a few weeks earlier than normal,” says Balpreet Gill with Gold Star Fruit Company Ltd. He notes the larger producers should be done in May, a month earlier than B.C. has sometimes finished up.
In terms of varieties, there are still ample B.C. Ambrosia and Gala apples are on the market.
Part of the reason behind the earlier finish is the shorter 2022 crop. However, demand has been strong this year as well for B.C. apples--stronger than last year at this time. “Apples are still a staple item and because they’re local and are still selling for a lower price point per pound than imported fruit such as plums or mangoes. People are drawn right now more towards price-sensitive items and they’re moderately priced compared to imported product,” he says.
B.C. apples competing globally
Strong demand for B.C. apples is notable, especially considering its proximity to nearby Washington’s apple production which provides strong competition. “We’re a relatively small industry so that’s challenging. Right now, Washington, Chile, New Zealand and parts of Europe are all shipping apples so it’s a global competition and there is a relatively high cost of production here. That always makes it a challenge on the global scale,” says Gill.
Overall though, pricing is up compared to last year. “It’s up slightly mainly due to supply. As supply shrank and demand remained steady, the price went up a bit to compensate for the reduction in the crop,” says Gill.
As for the 2023 apple crop, it’s early but there are positive indicators. Gold Star Fruit is currently doing cherry bud samples and the B.C. cherry crop was also a small one in 2022. “With cherries as an indicator, they are looking really good. Over the winter there wasn’t much bud damage but we do have a ways to go with potential spring frosts, pollination and rains,” Gill says. “We’re hoping apples will be the same thing--getting a strong crop to make up for last year’s short crop.”
For your information:
Gold Star Fruit Company Ltd.
Tel: +1 (250) 535-0953