Rain in Okanagan Delays Cherry Harvest, Farmers Say – Okanagan

Farmers around the Okanagan are beginning to feel the effects of increased rain and what feels like an extended spring season.

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“Compared to last year, I would say we’re about two weeks behind schedule,” said Angelique Slade Shantz, owner of Rosehill Orchard.

Rosehill Orchard in Lake Country would normally welcome customers to the farm for their cherry picks, but the rainy weather has impacted their production.

A recent storm left at least one tree without “rather large branches,” Slad Shantz said.

“(We) basically lost a lot of good-looking cherries,” she said.

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Slade Shantz acquired Rosehill Orchard in 2021 and had to deal with a number of weather challenges.

“We had the extreme heat, we had the heat dome, we had the fires and the smoke,” Slade Shantz said.

Although her harvest went well last year, she is unsure of what this year will bring. “Now we are dealing with exactly the opposite. Lots and lots of rain.”

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Rosehill Orchard isn’t the only one affected by the wet weather. After 22 years of farming, Hayat Orchards say they have not experienced weather like they have seen in recent times.

“I’ve never experienced such a harsh winter,” said Hayat Orchard owner Tas Hayat. “It’s more than 10 to 15 days where we’ve had temperatures below 25 or 30 which killed all the berry fruit. Above all, we don’t have any peaches or apricots and only 40 or 50 percent cherries.”

Hayat adds that the increased rain isn’t always a bad thing, as it can lead to a larger harvest.

“In some cases it helps because it’s a longer growing season for our cherries to reach a larger size.”

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Although the fruit is not quite ripe in the northern Okanagan, cherries are still available in the southern Okanagan.

Slade Shantz says South Okanagan cherries are available for purchase, but if they’re interested in picking their own they’ll have to wait until the first week of July.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

https://globalnews.ca/news/8957603/okanagan-rain-delaying-cherry-harvest-farmers-say/ Rain in Okanagan Delays Cherry Harvest, Farmers Say – Okanagan

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