Photos by Jon Clements and Win Cowgill
Day 2 -- An all-day tour to visit apple orchards in Hamilton-Wentworth and Norfolk counties, the Horticultural Experiment Station/University of Guelph in Simcoe, and the Norfolk Fruit Growers Association's packing plant and cold storage facilities.
|First stop was the University of Guelph Horticultural Experiment Station at Simcoe where researchers Dr. John Cline and Technician Mary Bijl gave a comprehensive tour of their 15 hectares dedicated to orchard research. The interaction of apple orchard systems, rootstocks, varieties, and soil management, while focusing on a holistic approach to solving practical cultural management problems forms the basis for thier research.|
|At long-time IDFTA supporter and past-president Harold Schooley's Orchard in Windham Centre, the group gets into the finer aspects of training and pruning a young super slender-spindle block planted at two feet beetween trees. Schooley's goal is to replant 4-6% of his acreage annually, i.e. turning orchard over every 16-25 years. He is also pioneering the use of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to map his young orchards. He is collecting soil and leaf/fruit samples at GPS identified sites within his young orchards, with his aim to fine tune the nutritional status status of blocks to increase yields.|
|The packing line at the Norfolk Fruit Growers' Association is state-of-the-art, using video cameras to sort fruit by size and color, and computerized automatic and semi-automatic bagging units. The 32 member co-op was chartered in 1906, and reperesents 2,800 acres of orchard with the potential to produce over two million bushels of apples (15-20% of Ontario production). They can C.A. store almost one million bushels of fruit.|
|Final stop was Chudleigh Orchards in Milton where we were first treated to Chudleigh's award-winning apple pastry and hot coffee before venturing into Tom's pride and joy pick-your-own orchard. Tom plants only M.9 trees now, fumigates, and fertilizes three times in the first year to achieve 24-30" shoot growth. Chudleigh's is within an hour from most of metropolitan Toronto, Canada's largest city.|