July 20, 2017 7:17 pm
Updated: July 21, 2017 7:15 am

‘I can’t use any of them’: hail wipes out apple orchard north of Saskatoon

WATCH ABOVE: As much as the month of July has seen warm temperatures, it's also had its fair share of severe weather. A storm with hail and high winds can change everything for local fruit farmers.

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A hail storm earlier this week changed a lot of Diana Fedosoff’s plans for her apple orchard.

“It started hailing the size of ping pongs and the size of big grapes and it went on for four minutes,” said Fedosoff, the owner of Petrofka Orchard.

READ MORE: Saskatoon weather outlook: smoke has returned, storms moving in

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Four minutes was enough to ruin most of the apples at the orchard, located about 50 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

Although many of the apples are still hanging on the trees, they are of no use to Fedosoff.

“They’re still small enough right now it doesn’t knock all of them off, but it cracks them into opening them up for any kind of infections and for all the bugs to get in. I can’t use any of them.”

More than 75 per cent of the apple harvest was destroyed in Tuesday’s storm, according to Fedosoff.

“I can’t even use them for juicing, because I’m sure they’re going to be too mushy.”

“I got so upset because you spend the time all year, watering, irrigating, pruning, doing everything.”

Apples are the main fruit grown at Petrofka Orchard, and Fedosoff makes 40 different products with them, such as apple sausage and apple mustard.

“I use 6,000 pounds for my vinegar. I use 3,500 pounds for my pies. I need 26,000 pounds just to do my business,” Fedosoff explained.

Fedosoff figures more than $10,000 will be lost in retail sales.

It’s a familiar story for other fruit farmers in the city.

A hail storm last week knocked Lorraine’s Saskatoon Berries right out of business.

READ MORE: ‘1-in-25 year storm’ slams Saskatoon with flooding, hail and major power outages

“We had ripe berries and it just erased. All the ripe berries and the red ones are all pockmarked from the hail,” said Lorraine Trudgian, the owner of Lorraine’s Saskatoon Berries.

Since opening her gates 18 years ago, this was the first time Trudgian was forced to close for the season due to weather.

The u-pick was only open for three-and-a-half days this year. In 2016, Trudgian was open for 23 days.

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