|An abandoned orchard in South London|
London, Ontario, likes to brag that it is situated right smack dab in the middle of some of the best farmland in Canada. Plus, we usually have ample rain keeping crops healthy and growing and our summers are long and hot --- very supportive of agriculture. Southwest Ontario is the ideal location for a successful apple orchard. Or at least it should be.
Sadly, fruit orchards right across the southern part of the province are being abandoned, bull dozed, ripped out, with the land growing its last crop: A subdivision.
The abandoned orchard shown is but five minutes from my South London home. When I moved here in the early '90s, there were orchards reaching for kms along Southdale Road. My wife and I used to buy fresh baked fruit pies from a couple of places that also sold the locally grown fruit.
Today many of the orchards are gone with houses occupying the land. Some of the other orchards are simply abandoned. The pies are but a memory.
Why there is no money in maintaining these orchards and reaping the bountiful crop of fruit for as long as possible is my question. Something is wrong. It is not just the pushing of the city into the surrounding country that is killing the orchards. More is at work here. Maybe the fact that there are no longer fruit canning plants in Ontario could have something to do with it. The market for the fruit may be as withered as the trees themselves.
I know that the last canned peaches I bought for my granddaughter came from South Africa. The last fruit cocktail I got came from China.