CADAP Tours – 2014

2014 Ridgetown, ON – University of Guelph

Cedar Springs Research Station

Performance of Honeycrisp on Dwarfing Rootstocks
An orchard of Honeycrisp on 9 dwarfing rootstocks covering a range of vigor (B9 to M26) was established in 2002 to evaluate this newer variety. The trial was completed in 2009 and results have been in previous newsletters.

Evaluation of Rootstock Effects on Bitter Pit of Honeycrisp
The 2002 planting of Honeycrisp on 9 dwarfing rootstocks is being maintained to document differences in bitter pit incidence across rootstocks. It has been suggested that a more vigorous rootstock would result in more bitterpit, but we could find no data to support this. We now have 2 years of data (samples from 2013 are in cold storage for further evaluations). We have not observed any significant changes across the range of rootstocks; however, bitter pit incidence has been low. We are continuing this trial, and also expanding bitter pit research into looking at irrigation/groundcover management and its influence on this problem.

Pruning and Training Strategies for Establishing Ambrosia Orchards
A high density planting of Honeycrisp and Ambrosia on B9 was established with 12 ft rows and in-row spacings of 2′, 3′ and 4′, to create 3 trees densities (907, 1210 and 1815 trees/acre) for evaluating potential mechanization in the future. All trees were grown from whips. The Ambrosia trees developed the typical U-shaped upright lateral branches, which makes it a challenge to fill their assigned space in the orchard. To evaluate whether lateral branches should be pruned out and/or trained horizontal, we worked with Leslie Huffman to use different pruning and training techniques for lower and upper tiers of scaffolds. Observations in the spring of 2013 suggested that removing 1 large lower branch and training all upper laterals to horizontal starting in the 2nd year provided a tree with the best form and highest yield potential. This pruning approach appeared to work well in the 2 ft and the 3 ft in-row spacing.

Truly Green Farms (relies of TFW)
The idea to build a greenhouse on the outskirts of Chatham that would connect to GreenField Ethanol and utilize their waste heat and carbon dioxide began nearly two years ago. A great deal of work to align the ideals and goals of the Municipality with that of a family run business owned and operated by the Devries family. The process presented many challenges and obstacles, but at the end of the day revealed immense opportunity to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Cedarline Greenhouses, GreenField Ethanol and the Province of Ontario. Today Cedarline Greenhouses is grateful and deeply indebted to all those individuals who have helped to make this project a reality.

The new greenhouse project began under a new company name in October 2012; Truly Green. The name was chosen to depict the environmentally friendly or carbon neutral way that the tomatoes will be grown in the greenhouse facility. Once the greenhouse is complete, tomatoes will be grown in the first 22.5 acres of the project. Over the next 10 years, 3 separate phases of expansion will be incorporated; bringing 90 acres into production. The tomatoes will be sold to Mastronardi produce in Leamington. The reason why tomatoes were chosen as the greenhouse crop of choice is simply that ‘tomatoes’ respond best to massive amounts of carbon dioxide and it is hoped that the greenhouse will realize a significant yield increase through using GreenField Ethanol’s C02.

It is interesting to note the greenhouse will be one of the first of its kind in North America to utilize waste heat in production as well.

Pickle Station (relies on local labour- hire 225 students in the summer)
In 1964 Norm VanRoboys, sold a load of cucumbers to Walter Bick, founder of Bick’s Pickles under the condition to set up a grader in Chatham the following year. So that year Norm contracted out 2 million pounds of cucumbers to farmers in Chatham-Kent and never looked back!

In 2009, Hartung Brothers Inc, the biggest pickling cucumber handler in the United States purchased and renovated the Bick’s grader and now ships to processors all over Eastern and Central USA such as Vlasic and Heinz. The station typically handles 35 million pounds of cucumbers annually.

The 3rd generation of VanRoboys’, currently runs the family business – Jeff guided the tour (Sisters Kelly and Krystle work in the business with their Father Don).  Using 7 machine harvested they cover 1300 acres all in Chatham-Kent; and  with the improved efficiency the station handles 35 million pounds of cucumbers.

Parks Blueberries
Thirty-six  (36) years ago they planted their first blueberry bushes.  “With a lot of tender loving care, we have nurtured these plants into the most beautiful bushes.  They now stand between four and six feet tall, on over forty irrigated acres, entirely under netting.  We are pioneers in the use of nets for food safety reasons.  Keeping birds out means our clusters are free of pecks and any residual bird contact.  Our orchard is one of the most picturesque settings one can enjoy.