The first firm, ripe cherries of the season are set to head to BC packinghouses in the coming days.
Oliver grower Pinder Dhaliwal, president of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association, is pleased with the size and quality of the fruit.
“We’ve had no drastic weather and there’s no rain forecast for the next few days, so it’s looking like a good crop to be harvested,” he says.
Chelan and Tieton will be the first varieties picked, and Dhaliwal expects demand to be strong.
This year’s harvest is beginning at about the same as last year. Pickers will enter orchards early in the morning to bring in the crop before the heat of the day hits. Harvest usually ends around noon. This allows the fruit to be kept as cool as possible to preserve quality.
Some growers in the valley are reporting a light crop this year because of extremely cold weather in February after a mild January.
Apricot growers in particular sustained considerable damage from a combination of February’s cold snap then cold spring weather that dampened pollination.
Apples, on the other hand, are looking good this year. Blossoming later than apricots, they enjoyed good weather during pollination, according to Dhaliwal.
Apple growers are keeping their fingers crossed that temperatures don’t reach extreme highs this summer, causing trees to shut down and slow ripening.