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Northumberland County apples rebound after soggy spring

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

VALERIE MACDONALD Northumberland TodayJackson Withers of Grafton checked out the apples at Deleeuw's Fruit Market east of Wicklow on County Road 2, and chose a big juicy one. Market manager Donna Moyles (rear) shares the youngster's enthusiasm.

VALERIE MACDONALD Northumberland TodayJackson Withers of Grafton checked out the apples at Deleeuw's Fruit Market east of Wicklow on County Road 2, and chose a big juicy one. Market manager Donna Moyles (rear) shares the youngster's enthusiasm.

NORTHUMBERLAND --The cold, wet spring, which reduced the bee activity in Northumberland orchards and meant lower yields for early apples, transformed itself into a summer sunny enough to make current harvesting fruitful, says a long-time apple producer.

The apples are maturing "a little later (than usual, but yields) are not too bad," says Paul Burnham, a Hamilton Township director with the Northumberland Federation of Agriculture.

The Burnhams grow 15 varieties of apples near the west end of Cobourg and sell them from their market.

"We are starting to get into the main types now," Burnham added about the harvesting currently underway. These include Poly Reds and Jeremy Macs.

A drive along County Road 2 from the Cobourg area in the west end of Northumberland into the Brighton area in the east end is full of apple-harvesting activity currently underway at the various orchards located not far from the north shore of Lake Ontario.

It is an important industry, with apples being sold both locally and exported. They are sold fresh for eating and baking, for applesauce and for cider.

Moore's Orchards are located on the south side of County Road 2 east of Cobourg. Co-owner Heidi Behan says, while the wet spring has meant it is not a huge crop, this year it is a nice crop because the apples are a larger size due to all of the rain.

"They got the water they were lacking last year," Behan said as she served customers buying bags full of apples.

She agreed with Burnham that the lack of honeybee activity due to the wet, cool spring (roughly the latter half of May) "was not a great time for pollination."

For well over 30 years, Dan Deleeuw and his son John have grown apples east of Grafton. Their market manager Donna Moyles offered the assessment that it seems to be a good season.

She said her husband Tony manages their field operations in the Grafton area, from picking apples to transporting them in for storage in bins.

Apples are just one of about 200 different kinds of crops grown in Northumberland County, listed as one of type of agribusinesses new Canadians might be interested in pursuing. According to a county website, immigrants can find out more information about opportunities by going to welcometonorthumberland.ca/en/doingbusiness/opportunitiesforagribusiness.asp.

There you will find an on-line tool called Farm in Northumberland, where you can register by creating an account. This is for a newcomer located anywhere in Canada, or someone overseas wanting to buy a farm, or to investigate the apple business, or other agri-opportunity here in Northumberland.

vmacdonald@postmedia.com

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