Promoting opportunities for Ontario apple growers

ADB is committed to cultivating growth of the agriculture sector by ensuring they have access to the best information on current issues and solutions. We achieve this by leveraging strong external connections with industry partners and optimizing our technical expertise and knowledge transfer capabilities.

Collaborating with apple industry partners to share technical information, Dr. Jennifer DeEll, Fresh Market Quality Specialist, has helped Ontario apple growers to achieve new marketing opportunities.

Working with the Ontario Apple Growers and the Apple Marketers' Association of Ontario, Jennifer recognized an opportunity for the province's apple growers to increase their profit margins by accessing off-season markets.

Alongside industry partners in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, Jennifer collaborated on two large research projects. A national research project leveraged close to $700,000 in government and industry funding over five years. In addition, Ontario conducted a regionally-focused research project over two years, funding $95,195 to this research, of which 25% was provided by industry partners. (Partners and collaborators are listed below).

This research evaluated post-harvest handling and storage regimes and investigated new storage technologies to improve the retention of apples after harvest, including new apple cultivars. Jennifer used these research outcomes to create best management practice recommendations for producers to optimize commercial storage regimes. She worked collaboratively to share information with the sector through six reports, six posters and numerous newsletter articles and presentations. Jennifer also presented this research at Ontario's Fruit and Vegetable Conventions in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to audiences of more than 150 people each year.

Extending shelf life and availability: new marketing opportunities

As a result of her work and sector collaboration, the storage life and availability of fresh, market quality Ontario-grown apples has been extended by two - three months, now approaching year-long availability. This has lengthened the marketing window for more producers to take advantage of better pricing over the winter months. Optimized storage regimes have improved the quality of apples for consumers, thus increasing demand further. Adding to increased profitability, this optimization has opened up new opportunities for export markets by improving the ability to transport apples to further distances for longer periods of time.

Resources

For more information on what you can do to improve storage for apples, see this OMAFRA Factsheet. For information on how to improve harvest and storage of pears, see this OMAFRA Factsheet.

Funding Partners and Collaborators

  • Apple Marketers' Association of Ontario
  • BC Fruit Growers' Association
  • Canadian Hort Council - Apple Working Group
  • Decco US Post-Harvest Inc.
  • GRB Ag. Technologies Inc.
  • Les producteurs de pommes du Québec
  • Pommes Philip Cassidy Inc.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca

Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: May 2017
Last Reviewed: May 2017