Apple harvest: quality over quantity
Sep 27, 2013 / 12:21 pm
They are golden and delicious, but this year there won't be as many of them.
The apple harvest in the Okanagan will be smaller than normal this year, despite producing great fruit this season.
According to BC Tree Fruits marketing manger Chris Pollock, there are two reasons for the low volume in apple production.
"Mother nature didn't do us any favours. It started in the spring where we got some frost in Oliver and Osoyoos that hurt some of the apples as it did for some of our summer fruit as well. Then we had that major hail storm in east Kelowna orchards."
The other factor at play is several orchardists who shipped their fruit to the Co-op last year have, but elected to ship their fruit to the US and not sign another contract with BC Tree Fruits this year.
Although 520 orchardists remain with the cooperative, it has been speculated as to why others would walk away and sell to the US.
Apple grower Marc Van Roechoudt believes they were unhappy with the way the c-op was organized.
"We don't know if they will come back or not," he says.
However, regardless of the reason, the move by orchardists to sell to the US will affect the remaining growers who opted to say with the co-op.
"We won't be able to have the selling power at our packing house. We did lose lots of poundage at the packing house, but we will become a smaller more niche market (and) it will be positive in the long run," says apple grower Andrew Gambell, whose family has been growing fruit in Winfield since the 1960s.
Field service person, Gail Krahn, has also been affected as one of the top producing orchardists in her area decided to not renew their contract with BC Tree Fruits and instead sell to the US, which means less work for her.
"He probably had about 7,000 bins of fruit out of the Vernon area, so that comes off my area and since I gave that grower field service, it's less (work) for me as a field person."
As for consumers, Pollock says it's possible they too could feel the impact from low apple production.
"Some varieties have been hit harder than others with weather and that sort of thing, so you may see less of a specific variety; but in terms of the length of the season, we should see no change in the length of the apple season."
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