Maritime apple growers race to harvest trees on time

With changing leaves and fresh air, New Brunswick apple growers face a bushel of challenges this year.

With only about two weeks left in the season, Irishview Apple Management trees need to be picked quickly, but that’s easier said than done.

“We had 54 people who said they were coming. At harvest time, 32 showed up and we had a hard time,” explained Reg Petitpas, one of the owners. “We say that even with the perfect weather, we are going to have a hard time picking up the crop.”

Overall, says Petitpas, when the orchard is operating at full capacity, Irishview Apple Management needs around 80 pickers.

For now, fewer hands are doing more work and unfortunately local orchards are facing more than regular season hurdles this year.

“We probably lost 25% of our crop that fell to the ground during Fiona and those apples are worth about 10 cents on the dollar, they’re going to fetch deer apples,” Petitpas said.

“Then the other issue we have this year, we have more bruises in our apples, because the ones that didn’t fall to the ground, a lot of them kind of bumped into each other.”

Petitpas says that between the fallen apples and those that were bruised, he probably lost 50% of the harvest.

At Verger Belliveau in Memramcook, Fiona also left her mark.

“There were a few rows that were directly impacted by the wind, straight wind,” says Yanic Vautour, the program manager. , about 15% of our apples that were on the trees. »

He says that at their busiest time of the year, there is still plenty to do.

Adding, “we have about, I would say, a third or two to recover. We have a huge team picking every day.”

U-pick apples are available daily from both orchards until the end of the season.

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