Peach, apple harvests large

While cherry growers have been faced with rains during their harvest season, the peach and apple crops are larger than last year.

While cherry growers in the Okanagan Valley have been faced with intermittent rains during their harvest season, the peach and apple crops are larger than last year.

Glen Lucas, general manager of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, said the weather this year, with more rainfall and lower temperatures than in the past, has affected fruit growers.

“It’s been a bit of a mixed bag,” he said.

For cherry growers, the rain has been the biggest obstacle.

“It’s been a great challenge to manage the quality of the cherry crops this year,” he said.

Rain can result in split cherries, and as a result, some cherry growers have hired helicopters after a rain, to blow the water off the fruit.

While cherries have been problematic, the peach crop is larger than normal, Lucas said.

“It’s a bit early, but it’s abundant in volume,” he said.

The nectarine crop is also good, Lucas added.

The early apples are already being harvested, and in parts of the South Okanagan, the Sunrise apple harvest is completed.

There was some hail damage earlier this year, but despite the hail the crop is around eight per cent larger than last year, Lucas said.

Last year, 2.7 million boxes of apples were harvested. This year, 2.9 million boxes are expected.

Gala apples account for 1.3 million boxes, while Ambrosia apples account for 600,000 boxes.

Red Delicious and Golden Delicious apple varieties are continuing to decline in popularity.

McIntosh apples have seen a slight decline, while Spartan apples are fairly stable.