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New Brunswick apple farmers say dry summer yielded smaller, but still high-quality, fruit

Click to play video 'Apple growers see good crop despite dry New Brunswick summer' Apple growers see good crop despite dry New Brunswick summer
ABOVE: The hot and dry summer conditions weren't optimum for growing apples but local farmers say this year's crop is still as tasty as ever. Jeremy Keefe reports – Oct 8, 2017

Many might be enjoying the seemingly never-ending summer season, but the warm weather hasn’t provided the ideal conditions for local apple growers.

Despite the shortage of rain, however, farmers say their crops are still looking — and tasting — as good as ever.

READ MORE: New Brunswick enjoys summer-like conditions as fall arrives

Sandow Farm in Keswick Ridge typically opens their orchard to pickers around the end of September.

Owners Phil and Marieka Chaplin welcomed the public to harvest from their apple trees around the usual time of year, even though the summer months weren’t exactly ideal growing conditions.

“It’s been very dry this year,” Phil explained. “With the lack of moisture, the apples have been quite a bit smaller than normal.”

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Though their apples might be smaller in size this season, the Chaplins insist the quality and taste remain the same.

One thing that did change, however, is the amount of apples that need to be picked to fill a basket.

“It has meant that they have to work quite a bit harder,” Phil said. “Our price is the same, so they just get more apples.”

Sandow Farm has been a spray-free certified organic farm for 25 years.

Forgoing the use of chemical pesticides, and even more natural sprays, the Chaplins concentrate on ensuring the soil is rich and clear of the previous year’s crop to keep their farm’s standards high.

READ MORE: Is buying organic really worth it?

Being a certified organic farm does come with its own set of difficulties, but they note no farm is immune from the trying summer conditions seen recently.

“I think the challenge is pretty similar,” Marieka said. “We’ve talked to some of the other apple growers in our region here in Keswick Ridge, and we’ve all had that same experience of drought.”

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