Highlights of the 42nd Annual IDFTA Conference Tours, February 1999, Hamilton, Ontario CANADA

Photos by Jon Clements and Win Cowgill


Day 2 -- An all-day tour to visit apple orchards in Hamilton-Wentworth and Norfolk counties, the Horticultural Experiment Station/University of Guelph in Simcoe, and the Norfolk Fruit Growers Association's packing plant and cold storage facilities.

  First stop was the University of Guelph Horticultural Experiment Station at Simcoe where researchers Dr. John Cline and Technician Mary Bijl gave a comprehensive tour of their 15 hectares dedicated to orchard research. The interaction of apple orchard systems, rootstocks, varieties, and soil management, while focusing on a holistic approach to solving practical cultural management problems forms the basis for thier research.

At long-time IDFTA supporter and past-president Harold Schooley's Orchard in Windham Centre, the group gets into the finer aspects of training and pruning a young super slender-spindle block planted at two feet beetween trees. Schooley's goal is to replant 4-6% of his acreage annually, i.e. turning orchard over every 16-25 years. He is also pioneering the use of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to map his young orchards. He is collecting soil and leaf/fruit samples at GPS identified sites within his young orchards, with his aim to fine tune the nutritional status status of blocks to increase yields.  

  The packing line at the Norfolk Fruit Growers' Association is state-of-the-art, using video cameras to sort fruit by size and color, and computerized automatic and semi-automatic bagging units. The 32 member co-op was chartered in 1906, and reperesents 2,800 acres of orchard with the potential to produce over two million bushels of apples (15-20% of Ontario production). They can C.A. store almost one million bushels of fruit.

Final stop was Chudleigh Orchards in Milton where we were first treated to Chudleigh's award-winning apple pastry and hot coffee before venturing into Tom's pride and joy pick-your-own orchard. Tom plants only M.9 trees now, fumigates, and fertilizes three times in the first year to achieve 24-30" shoot growth. Chudleigh's is within an hour from most of metropolitan Toronto, Canada's largest city.  

Day 1 -- A pre-conference bus tour to visit Niagara Peninsula tender fruit orchards, the HorticulturalResearch Institute/University of Guelph at Vineland Station, and a Niagara area winery.

International Dwarf Fruit Tree Association