Cool spring, hot summer impacting Vancouver Island apple and pumpkin crops

Cool spring, hot summer impacting Vancouver Island apple and pumpkin crops

WATCH: Smaller pumpkins and a shortage of apples creating challenges for Vancouver Island farmers. April Lawrence reports.

There are fewer apples ripe for the picking at Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse this year

“I think this season is our most difficult one so far,” said owner Kristen Needham.

A cool, wet spring meant bees weren’t flying and pollinating fruit trees in the region like they usually do.

And while some late harvest apple trees did okay the earlier ones did not.

Needham says her crop is down about 50 per cent.

And when crushing, fermenting and bottling those apples is your business, that poses a problem.

“We started thinking okay how are we going to compensate for the lack of apples in our orchard?” Needham said.

From there, an idea blossomed.

“We’ve had a call out this year asking for people to bring in their apples which we’ll buy or barter for cider,” she said.

The requirements are pretty simple: any variety will do but no sprays and no rot.

“If you’re not prepared to eat the apple it’s probably not good for cider,” Needham said.

Apples aren’t the only popular fall flavour taking a hit from this year’s drastic weather ? the summer was frighteningly dry for pumpkins.

“We’ve noticed a dramatic change in our crop comparing it with whether we put lots of water on or very little,” said Michell Bros. Farms owner Vern Michell.

The field with the large pumpkins had to be irrigated five times this summer, which is four more than usual.

The U-Pick field next to it was only watered once and the pumpkins are about a third the size.

“Some parts of the Fraser Valley the crops are way down because some of the growers there don’t use irrigation at all for pumpkins,” Michell said.

But he says for people heading to his farm this year, there should be plenty of pumpkins for picking.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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