Late summer heat and sun promise sweet Ontario apples
September 26, 2023
For immediate release
Vineland ON – 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 – but good pollination of spring blossoms and plentiful rainfall have 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 really increase the sugar levels and help produce some great tasting apples.”
Following a plentiful crop in 2022, this year’s harvest is expected to be similar yield. With more and more new tree plantings coming into production, consumers can expect a good supply of popular apple 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 out grocery shopping,” adds McKay. “And 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.”
Apples are a healthy, convenient snack but can also be used as a nutritious meal, baked good, and dessert ingredient. 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% of Ontario’s total apple acreage, followed by Honecrisp and McIntosh at 14% each and Ambrosia at 10%.
Sensory research completed by the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre has shown that 89% 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. Visit www.onapples.com for recipe ideas and grower profiles or follow Ontario Apple Growers on Instagram (@ontarioapples) and Facebook (@OntarioApples).
Cathy McKay, Chair, Ontario Apple Growers, 905-440-0966 or email@example.com
Kelly Ciceran, General Manager, Ontario Apple Growers, 905-688-0990 or firstname.lastname@example.org