Ample apple crops could drive down price for N.S. growers

Nova Scotia fruit growers report a promising crop in the Annapolis Valley, but farmers say bountiful crops across Ontario and New England could drive down the price.

Pickers now harvesting McIntosh and Honeycrisp apples

In this Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, photo, Chris Sprague checks on Macintosh apples growing at the Rocky Ridge Orchard, in Bowdoin, Maine. "It's a bumper crop this year," said Sprague. New England's apple crop is expected to be just below its five-year average for 2013, but much better than the 2012 season, challenged by late frost and hail. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) (The Associated Press)

Nova Scotia apple growers report a promising crop in the Annapolis Valley, but farmers say bountiful crops across Ontario and New England could drive down the price.

The harvest has begun. Fruit growers are now in the orchards picking McIntosh apples, and some early Honeycrisps.

“It has been an excellent growing year. Our crop is well sized and we’ve had some nice early fall weather, which has promised nice colour or the onset of nice colour,” said Rob Peill, president of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association.

While the harvest is going well, the price is yet to be determined.

Growers said they are hoping for strong market prices, but they won’t be as high as last year when New England's apple crop was fretted by late frost and hail.

“We are hoping that we will be able to have strong prices this year, but we understand that there are large crops in various other regions of North America that we will have to compete with,” said Peill.

“Last year it was an extraordinary year and we know that we will not see prices like that again for a while. But we are optimistic that our pricing won’t decline to the levels of the years immediately preceding that."

Peill said to maintain prices, growers are continuing to convert more orchards from inexpensive apples that sell as a bulk commodity to trees that grow premium table breeds including Honeycrisp and Sweet Tango.

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