|The brown centre of an apple blossom indicates a bloom that would not result in an apple being produced following this spring's unusual weather.|
The early warm weather in March, followed by sudden flash freezes, has caused devastating losses to tender fruit and apple growers in a large part of southern Ontario.
Steve Smith says there are no blossoms on his apple trees in Port Elgin, about 40 kilometres southwest of Owen Sound, which means there will be no apples.
Agriculture specialist John Cline at the University of Guelph says the apple industry alone in Ontario is worth up to $400 million.
Roughly 2,800 people are employed in the province’s apple orchards, including 2,300 foreign workers hired during the growing season.
Phil Tregunno of the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers Marketing Board in Niagara says about 30 per cent of peaches and nectarines have been affected, with damage totalling about $24 million to those two crops alone.
Growers won’t know the impact on the grape crop until early June.
Based on the laws of supply and demand, prices are almost certain to go up in grocery stores as produce is brought in from out of the province to fill the void.