Well, we all worried that this would happen, and here is the lastest news.. Sigh..
“A catastrophic freeze has wiped out about 80 per cent of Ontario’s apple crop and has the province’s fruit industry looking at losses already estimated at more than $100 million.
“This is the worst disaster fruit growers have ever, ever experienced,” orchard owner Keith Wright said Friday.
“We’ve been here for generations and I’ve never heard of this happening before across the province. This is unheard of where all fruit growing areas in basically the Great Lakes area, in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York State, Ontario, are all basically wiped out. It’s unheard of,” the Harrow, Ont.-area grower said.
Wright lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of apples and peaches last Sunday when freezing temperatures killed the blossoms.
Warm temperatures got fruit trees blooming early and when temperatures plummeted it damaged or wiped out much of the $60 million apple crop and 20 to 30 per cent of Ontario’s $48 million tender fruit crop, which includes peaches, cherries, pears, plums and nectarines.
Brian Gilroy, a Georgian Bay area apple grower who is chairman of the Ontario Apple Growers, said the loss to fruit growers and the economy will easily be more than $100 million. On top of the lost yield or no crop at all, orchard workers and spinoff industries such as juice, packing, storage and farm supplies will be affected.
Gilroy said consumers will find locally grown apples pricey and difficult to find this fall. Some kinds of apples such as Empire will be very difficult to find.
Washington State has a good crop but consumers should expect apple prices to jump because all of northeastern North America was affected, he said.
What crop growers do get will likely have visible damage such as apples with ridges like the ones on pumpkins.
“This past weekend in southwestern Ontario and the Niagara region temperatures got down to close to -7 (C) while things were out in full bloom and it’s pretty well wiped them out,” Gilroy said of orchards already hit by previous frosts. “It’s very widespread and the worst that anybody’s seen.”
Gilroy said about 65 per cent of the 215 commercial apple growers in Ontario have crop insurance but the disaster has the board approaching the provincial and federal governments for help under an agri-recovery program.
Some growers across Ontario have also lost entire orchards of peaches, sour cherries, pears, plums and nectarines, said Phil Tregunno, chairman of the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers Marketing Board.
It depended on location. The board is estimating 20 to 30 per cent of that $48 million crop is done.
“It was just way too early,” Tregunno said of blossom season that came about a month early. “That just put us at a huge risk.”
Dave Nickels of Nickels Orchards in Ruthven, Ont., said he lost all his apples, peaches, cherries and pears. He said when talking to other growers you can’t even get a word out of them because they’re just sick.
“It’s kind of like having a death in the family except there’s no closure to this one,” Nickels said.
In some varieties there is still a chance to get some apples. In early June, trees shed excess fruit as a natural thinning process and growers will have to wait to see if shocked trees will drop all their fruit, Wright said.”
For myself, I am sitting ok at the moment, my plum and cherry’s are just now starting to bloom, and the night time temps are looking good, my apple tree’s are behind the plums/cherries. Still, I typically wild pick a fair amount of local apples, it will be interesting to see if my local wild apple tree’s got hit or were slower to go like my own tree’s on the farm where.
So I arrived home yesterday to a sea of blue that had overtaken a huge sections my garden LOL, my hubby decided to spread out thick heavy blue tarps and weight them down over whole sections of my garden to help start killing off the green cover for ease of planting over the next few weeks, I am unsure if this will do what he thinks but regardless the soil will certianly warm under it.
This weekend, put a few miles on the van and headed out to meet Deb at a half way point between our places and had a lovely lunch with her and her DH, and then we had a great plant swap of all kinds of great green goodies..