Apple growers on P.E.I. expecting a 'real nice-looking crop' this year

·2 min read
Nancy MacKay with the P.E.I. Tree Fruit Growers Association says the cool nights and warm days of fall will help the apples finish and be ready to be picked. (Jane Robertson/CBC - image credit)
Nancy MacKay with the P.E.I. Tree Fruit Growers Association says the cool nights and warm days of fall will help the apples finish and be ready to be picked. (Jane Robertson/CBC - image credit)

Walking through the rows of trees and seeing the different varieties at Wintermoor Orchards in York, P.E.I., you can see the trees' branches laden with apples ripening in the sun.

Apple growers are getting a good sense of this year's crop as the cooler fall nights begin to set in and U-picks begin to open.

"This will be one of our bigger crops," said orchard co-owner Mark Ashley.

"Things are ripening up nice. Size is up. I've gone through it walking my dog in the morning and pretty proud of it. Real nice-looking crop."

Jane Robertson/CBC
Jane Robertson/CBC

Ashley said the trees saw lots of pollinators over the summer. The amount of rain also helped the apples grow in size.

Wintermoor started planting the orchard in 1993, Ashley said, with the first commercial crop harvested in 2003.

Customers are already roaming the grounds as the U-pick opened last weekend, with two of the 14 varieties ready for picking.

"They just overlap each other so there are always several varieties," Ashley said.

"Then around the first week of October we have six varieties become ripe basically all at the same time and those are our big weekends here."

Jane Robertson/CBC
Jane Robertson/CBC

Arlington Orchards in Tyne Valley opened for the season on Sept. 6.

Macphee's Orchard in Cardigan is set to open Friday, Olde Town Orchard in New Glasgow expects to open Sept. 24 and The Grove Orchard in Cornwall by the end of the month.

The P.E.I. Tree Fruit Growers Association expects it to be one of the best years for apples.

President Nancy MacKay joked that they were almost hoping the apples wouldn't grow too much more.

"We want to be able to put more than four or five in a bag for five pounds because right now we do have a lot of big apples," MacKay said. "Which is great, but for packing probably a little bit more challenging."

Jane Robertson/CBC
Jane Robertson/CBC

MacKay said some varieties are ripening a day or two early but most are ready at the usual times.

She said it will now be up to the cooler nights and warm days of fall to determine the final finish on the apples.

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