Hurricane Bill spares Valley apple crop
BY KIRK STARRATT
Hurricane Bill brought heavy winds and driving rain to the Valley region, but it looks as though the apple crop, for the most part, was spared.
Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association President Brian Boates, who grows several varieties of apples on the family farm in Woodville, said the hurricane Sunday, Aug. 23 didn’t have much impact on their crop and he hasn’t heard any growers complaining about significant damages.
There could have been some wind bruising of early varieties growing at the edges of blocks of trees, but he thinks most farms came through relatively unscathed. “As the apples get bigger, you get wind bruising because they bang into each other on the tree,” Boates said.
If wind bruising is significant, the crop is virtually worthless. If Hurricane Bill had hit with similar conditions two or three weeks from now there could have been greater impact because the apples would have been more mature. Bill hit early enough to minimize the impact on the crop.
Hypothetically speaking, if you were to have a lot of Gravensteins knocked off your trees at this point, Boates said they would be ripe enough to sell as juice apples. However, the quality wouldn’t be there with later varieties.
Boates said that on Sept. 12, 1954, most of the apple crop in the Valley was lost in a hurricane. In the early 1970s there was a hurricane with snow in late October that cost farmers their later varieties.
This year, he said, is shaping up to be average or slightly above average in the Valley and so long as we don’t get hit with another hurricane, this will probably be considered a good year for apples across the region.