COLDBROOK, N.S. - The federal government is giving Scotian Gold a $900,000 ACOA loan to expand its controlled atmosphere storage room for honeycrisp apples.
Kings-Hants MP made the announcement Monday morning at the co-operative’s plant in Coldbrook, Kings County.
The additional space — about 15,000 sq. ft. more on top of Scotian Gold’s current storage capacity of 150,000 sq. ft. — means it can hold an additional 100,000 bushels of honeycrisps.
The storage system removes oxygen and adds carbon dioxide to keep apples fresher about three months longer than it can now. That is the current process, but Scotian Gold president and CEO David Parrish says the new system is improved and more energy-efficient.
“It has newer technology that is going to allow us to store the apples for an even longer period than we have in the past,” Parrish said.
Honeycrisps are the local apple industry’s most valuable commodity.
“The whole concept is to have the best-quality piece of fruit you can put on the market,” Parrish said.
Parrish said growers are planting more honeycrisp orchards, and the new space will help hold the increased volume while enabling Scotian Gold to ship fresh fruit longer.
“We currently run out in late spring, so this will allow us to continue on later into the season, and provide more work for our employees,” he said.
He expects that the packing season for employees will increase by 20 days.
It will also provide a competitive advantage for the co-op in the export and domestic markets because it provides more apples to customers for longer for more of the year, he said.
Brison said honeycrisp “is a high-value apple, which means a more profitable apple to produce. It is the most sought-after variety in the world, and the combination of global demand and the fact the Annapolis Valley is the best place in the world to produce the apples means that this (project) is a winner.”
He said it will take honeycrisp production potential to a new level.
“We believe that food production is one of the areas of greatest potential growth and prosperity for Canada in the next 30 or 40 years, and there is no part of Canada better positioned to participate in that than Nova Scotia.”