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Nova Scotia vineyards, farms facing potentially devastating crop loss due to frost

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WATCH: Vineyards in Nova Scotia are grappling with a potentially devastating loss of grape crops following a severe spring frost. Natasha Pace has more – Jun 6, 2018

The wild and unpredictable weather has wiped out virtually all of the crops at Lloyd Dyck’s farm in Waterville, N.S.

“You don’t ever expect a disaster like this. I never did, anyway,” Dyck told Global News.

“Everybody experiences one throughout the world somewhere every year to the fortune of the others. I guess this year it was our time.”

READ: Canada’s next great wine region: Nova Scotia

Dyck says recent frost has devastated his apple orchards and cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“We’re trying not to think about it, but at the same time we still have to take care of the trees so that there’s going to be a crop, a potential crop, next year.”

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Many farms in the Annapolis Valley have been impacted by the recent low temperatures and frost, including Tap Root Farms in Port Williams, N.S.  Many of the crops at Tap Root are now protected, in anticipation of more frost in the forecast. The owner says his crops will likely now appear later in the season.

“We have such a small window to sell our product here in Nova Scotia, so you know, the smaller that window, the smaller the opportunity is for sales,” said Josh Oulton of Tap Root Farms.

Apples are extremely important to the province’s economy. The president of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers’ Association says although some apple orchards were hit hard by severe frost, there will still be a crop of apples.

“It’s in Mother Natures hands. There’s nothing we can do about it,” said Larry Lutz, president of the Fruit Growers Association of Nova Scotia.

“But you know, at this point … we’re certainly optimistic that we have a good crop coming,”

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Click to play video: 'Benjamin Bridge served Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant' Benjamin Bridge served Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant
Benjamin Bridge served Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant – Aug 30, 2017

The unusual weather is also having an impact on vineyards in Nova Scotia, including Benjamin Bridge in Wolfville, N.S. An aggressive frost had left a significant impact on the winery.

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“Comparing what our projected production should have been and what it will be, it may be down by 50 per cent,” said Gerry McConnell, owner and founder of Benjamin Bridge.

McConnell says the quality of the wine won’t be impacted by the loss of some grapes. He says the record low temperature are something that vineyards in the province haven’t really seen before.

“This is an exceptional environmental, adverse impact that I’ve been in the business since 1999, we’ve not seen it,” said McConnell.

READ MORE: Another frost advisory issued across the Maritimes

As for Dyck, despite his projected losses this year, he’s trying to be optimistic about the future.

“Just have to hope that there’s a good crop next year and the year after and that people eat a lot of apples,” he said with a chuckle.

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