Okanagan orchard left rigid after worst season in 11 years

Lake Country’s Witzke Orchards looks to bounce back after poor weather destroys crops

An Okanagan orchard is working to recover lost crops after their worst season in the past decade.

Witzke Orchards in Lake Country grows cherries, pears, apricots and others through the year, and are experiencing the same troubles as many other local orchards with the increase of rain to start the summer.

“Cherries are splitting because of the rain and we’ve lost crops,” said Keith Barth with Witzke Orchards.

“You can’t really put a money value on the losses, and we really won’t know the damage until the season is over.”

Witzke Orchards recently lost their entire apricot crop in February after the cold snap through the month froze and destroyed the harvest. Apricots are harvested once a year, and the orchard will take a couple years to bounce back to full crop sizes.

Though they should have a smaller apricot crop next year, Barth said they lost close to $50,000 because of the damage to the apricot trees.

READ MORE: 10th year for South Okanagan Cherry Pit Contest

READ MORE: Possibly worst Okanagan cherry season in 20 years

Other orchards in the Okanagan have reported record losses in cherry crops due to splitting this year as well, with the Okanagan’s Kempf Orchards reporting to have loss 50 to 60 per cent of early cherry crops to splitting this year.

“We keep an eye on the forecast, and adapt and react as they day goes by. After each rain, we get out and dry them off,” said Barth.

“Usually, we never have rain that lasts more than 30 minutes at a time, but when (there’s) 12 hours of straight rain, there’s little hope. You really can’t predict Mother Nature.”

READ MORE: Family restores 63-year-old Okanagan boat to original glory

Though it’s not all doom and gloom for Witzke Orchards. Their pear crops are looking good this season and they know that poor seasons like 2019 rarely happen, and they are determined to bounce back.

To report a typo, email:
[email protected]
.


@KelownaCapNews
[email protected]

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton Vees recognized on and off ice success

The awards were given out following their Saturday night win.

Dale family was prominent in Summerland’s past

Ruth Dale taught for many years

Penticton Vees comeback for overtime win to end regular season

The Vees were down 3-0 to start the third before putting together an epic comeback.

PHOTOS: Celebrating diversity in Penticton

Seventh annual OneWorld Festival celebrates the worlds of different cultures in the South Okanagan.

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Kelowna Firefighters douse suspicious hedge fire

A 30’ section of cedar hedge burned prompting an RCMP investigation.

Kelowna RCMP make arrest in fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard

An 18-year-old woman is in police custody facing a manslughter charge.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Most Read