Kingston apple farmer doing well this season despite an early loss
Charlie Waddell and his family have over 10 acres of apple trees, most of which you can pick yourself. Located at the corner of Washburn Road and Highway 15 in Kingston, Ont., Waddell’s store is fully stocked with the summer varieties of apples and there are many more yet to pick.
The 2018 season promises to be a good one for apple growers across Ontario, but it wasn’t without its challenges. An abrupt change in the weather in the region at the end of 2017 had a negative impact on the apples of 2018.
“The Lodi was one of the varieties that got hit hard with this freeze and most of them have died,” explains Waddell. “I lost a considerable number of trees.”
For two nights in November, and again in early December, temperatures plummeted overnight to -15 C, long before the trees had a chance to slip into their protective dormancy. It cost this apple farmer dearly.
Waddell recalls the loss.
“I would think it could be pushing 250 trees, perhaps.”
Other young trees will take their place. Waddell purchased nearly as many as he lost and they are doing well in a nursery right now, including a new type of apple.
“I had an opportunity to start a new variety, which I haven’t had before,” Waddell says. “Crimson Crisp, which is a fungus resistant variety.”
The more varieties, the better chance of success, Yet the Crimson Crisp won’t be available for another year or two as the trees need to mature.
Most of us think of apple season as a fall event. We do most of our picking starting in September and through October, but the Waddells gets started earlier, in July, as they grow many strains of apples. Diversification is key to survival in the agricultural industry. If one crop doesn’t do well, for one reason or another, others may thrive.
The Waddells have proven that. They may have taken a loss this season due to cold weather last winter but, like most farmers, that’s not going to stop them.
“So we move on,” Waddell says. “You take your hit. C’est la vie.”