Fruit crop lighter after cool spring

Cool and wet weather in spring has taken a toll on the Okanagan fruit crops.

Keith Carlson, a Summerland cherry grower, said the crop will be ready to harvest five to seven days later than usual.

“In general the crop is a little lighter than average but the size is a little bit better than average,” he said.

While wet weather can lead to cherries splitting, Carlson said that is not a concern at present, since splitting does not occur until the cherries are red, another two to four weeks from now.

For other fruits, the results have been disappointing this year.

Carlson said the apricot crop is light this year because of poor conditions during pollination.

For apple growers, the crop is good, but hot weather is needed within the next two to three weeks.

“It’s critical they get that heat or they’ll end up with smaller apples,” he said.

For much of the spring, temperatures have been cooler than normal and Carlson said he has not experienced a year like this in 22 years of farming in the area.

“This has been the latest blossom¬† time we’ve ever had,” he said.

Ron Vollo, another Summerland fruit grower, said continued cool weather could result in smaller fruit this year.

“We need nice warm weather after flowering and we’re not getting that,” he said.

At present, the cool and late spring is expected to delay harvest by about a week. For later apple varieties, the harvest cannot be extended because growers need to harvest their fruit before the frosts.

Vollo said there have been some years with similar spring weather, but they do not happen often.

“It’s rare for it to be as cool and as wet as this year,” he said.