Category Archives: apples

Keeping an invasive new fruit pest under control

Spotted Wing Drosophila under the microscope - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Click here to watch video

Simcoe, Ontario – A new invasive vinegar fly is threatening Ontario’s soft-skinned berry and tender fruit crops. But thanks to the Ontario Farm Innovation Program (OFIP), researchers and farmers are learning more about Spotted Wing Drosophila and how they can keep the pest from destroying their fruit.

Unlike common vinegar flies that are attracted to spoiled fruit, Spotted Wing Drosophila goes after healthy fruit just before harvest. It lays eggs underneath the skin of intact fruit, and as the larvae feed, the fruit tissue breaks down and becomes soft and leaky, resulting in decreased fruit quality and yield.

“Spotted Wing Drosophila has been on the radar in North America since 2010 and it was first identified in Ontario late that year following identification in other provinces and in the United States,” explains Hannah Fraser, Horticulture Entomology Program Lead with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Continue reading

Innovation has its roadblocks

Soy 20/20 logoThis article is from Soy 20/20, one of the AgInnovation Ontario partner organizations.


Expert panel gets real about the challenges of developing the next big thing

 By Lisa McLean for Soy 20/20

An innovative food product with health benefits is a good start for success in the Canadian marketplace.

But to be truly successful, entrepreneurs and product developers need to allow plenty of time for regulation, red tape and consumer acceptance of technologies.

That was the message to industry representatives and academics gathered at the 25th Canadian Conference on Fats and Oilseeds held in Quebec City October 5-6. Continue reading

Researchers developing “made-in-Ontario” apple varieties

Vineland new apple varieties - web
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland – Ontario plant breeders and consumer preference researchers have teamed up with the province’s apple growers to work towards bringing new, local apple varieties to market.

Traditionally, it can take 20 years or more to develop a new apple variety – time during which markets and consumer preferences can change – but a research partnership between the Ontario Apple Growers and Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) is hoping to cut that development time in half.

To help reach this goal, researchers are incorporating data from Vineland’s consumer and sensory research. This involved asking a sensory panel to identify the apple characteristics they found most appealing which will help develop new apple varieties that specifically meet the needs and wants of Ontario consumers. Continue reading

Extending the shelf life of fresh Ontario fruits and vegetables

Bins full of apples - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Simcoe ON – New storage bins are currently being tested that could extend the shelf life of fresh Ontario produce. Watch the video.

It can be a real challenge for farmers to match their supply of fresh fruits and vegetables with consumer demand – especially at the height of the harvest when there is often an excess of fresh produce on the market, which can lower prices to growers.

The new bins, designed for use in cold storage facilities, may help solve that problem by extending the shelf life of perishable crops to give farmers more flexibility with their marketing decisions. Continue reading

Rootstock research will put Ontario apple varieties on the map

apple orchard

By Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – For more than a year, Dr. Praveen Saxena, professor and researcher in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph, and his research team, including Dr. Max Jones, have been using a tissue culture method to multiply and grow apple rootstock faster than ever in a controlled lab environment.

Saxena’s research speeds up the process of traditional rootstock reproduction by using modern plant tissue culture methods or micropropagation.

The new multiplication method will help apple growers plant exactly the type of fruit tree and resulting apple variety they want. Continue reading