Summerland orchards spared cherry damage

The recent rapidly changing weather took a toll on the cherry crop in the South Okanagan

The hot temperatures last week, on the heels of cool and wet weather in late June, took a toll on the cherry crop in Oliver and Osoyoos, but orchardists in Summerland have fared much better.

Keith Carlson, a Summerland cherry grower, said the cherry varieties in Oliver and Osoyoos are early season cherries which are harvested at the beginning of July.

As a result, the cherries, which were ripening, split when the hot weather came.

In Summerland, he said, fruit growers have later season cherries which were not affected by the weather change.

Weather conditions still can threaten cherry crops, Carlson said. The combination of rain followed by heat will result in split fruit.

“You can lose a whole crop in a matter of hours,” he said.

Last year, cherry growers were hit with a severe hail storm in late July, just before mid-season and late-season varieties were to be picked.

The cherry industry has been consolidating as 80 per cent of the cherries grown in Summerland are grown by 20 per cent of the orchardists.