Ontario’s apple harvest is underway with expectations for a crop that’s about 15 per cent smaller than in 2020. Supplies will still be plentiful, but consumers looking for specific varieties or hoping to visit a pick-your-own orchard are encouraged to make their plans early.
“If you have your heart set on a certain variety, make sure you don’t put off getting your apples for too long,” says Ontario Apple Grower chair Cathy McKay, who farms near Port Perry, Ontario. “The good news is that apples are maturing a few days to almost a week sooner than usual this year, so it’s a great time to take advantage of nice fall weather and plan a visit to a farm market or pick-your-own operation.”
Spring frosts in some of the province’s apple growing areas contributed to the lower crop volume this year. As well, last year’s harvest was a bumper crop and because apple trees have a natural tendency to “rest” the following year, they will produce less fruit.
“When we consider the large crop we had last year and the frost concerns in the spring, overall the crop is looking good,” adds Kevin Martin, chair of the Apple Marketers’ Association of Ontario and president and CEO of Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. “The combination of heat and regular rainfall are providing better than average sizes for most varieties.”
Ontario farmers grow approximately 15 main varieties of apples along the shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. The farm gate value of the Ontario apple crop is approximately $90 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. Visit www.onapples.com for recipe ideas and grower profiles or follow Ontario Apple Growers on Twitter and Instagram (@ontarioapples) and Facebook (@Ontarioapples).
Source: Ontario Apple Growers September 16, 2021 news release