Fourteen apple farmers in New Brunswick are looking to find out more about growing organic apples to fill a gap in the market.
There is only one producer of organic apples in the province and every week, hundreds of pounds of organic apples are imported into New Brunswick.
Tegan Renner of the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network says the time is right for orchards to think about moving into organically grown apples.
"We're importing 604 pounds of organic apples a week and there's huge demand year-round for apples," she said. "So knowing that and that we have a very small amount of New Brunswick organic apples produced right now, ACORN is trying to offer the education and training to encourage producers to be able to supply that market."
Renner says demand for organic apples is high.
"Everyone knows they're a very pesticide-laden crop so there's a lot of interest from consumers in having an organic option and having an organic option grown close to home."
To that end, ACORN is putting on a workshop in Cocagne this weekend for apple producers interested in organic growing. Fourteen orchards have registered.
Berger Belliveau Orchard, an 80-acre farm in Memramcook, will be trying its hand at growing organic apples, but it will be a few years before the organic apples it produces hit the shelves.
"Our first trees will be coming next spring, a crimson crisp apple, then we hope to expand," said Guy Gautreau of Berger Belliveau Orchard.
Gautreau is excited to try something new.
"The level and awareness in food in this region and throughout the country has been really encouraging for every farmer to see and witness," said Gautreau.