The heat that began in mid-May has given cherry crops an extra push as the season approaches.
While grocers across Canada have begun promotion of imported fruit, Coral Beach Farms Ltd. issued its own update this week heralding the start of harvest on July 5.
While it expects initial volumes to be light, moderate fruit set this spring means fruit will be well-sized.
âThe main harvest is expected to commence around July 20 and will continue through August 31,â reports Coral Beach, the countryâs largest sweet-cherry producer.
In addition to excellent fruit size, sugar content is expected to be high â the sweetness and care taken in picking and shipping underpinning the farmâs âJealous Fruitsâ branding.
Despite moderate set and lighter volumes this year, an aggressive planting program means Coral Beach anticipates overall production to be up 30% to 35% this year compared to 2022.
Combined with expanding acreage by other growers, Statistics Canada reports that BC has 1,300 acres of cherries yet to come into production. The majority has been planted since 2019.
The added production offsets weather-related production declines.
A growing season update from the BC Fruit Growers Association earlier this year noted that many growers saw bud damage in cherries due to extreme cold in December. It forecast a crop up to 20% lower than average. âHowever, the remaining cherries will be larger in size, so the overall tonnage will likely not be impacted,â it said.
According to Statistics Canada, BC produced 18,814 tons of sweet cherries last year, down from the five-year average of 21,166 tons and a peak of nearly 27,000 tons in 2018.
The 2022 crop in BC had a farmgate value of more than $80 million.