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Andre Bailey, President of Global Fruit on this year’s cherry crop
“We like to be late as Canada is known for late cherries”
“It’s definitely a late cherry season this year,” says Andre Bailey with British Columbia-based Global Fruit. “It’s about 23 days later than last year, but we like to be late. Canada is known for late cherries,” he added.
22 export countries
British Columbia’s cherry crop can be broken down into three regions. The warmer Southern Okanagan Valley will start harvest around June 25th this year with small volumes of Chelan, Bing and Cristalina cherries. The season moves north to the North Okanagan Valley where the days are shorter and the nights longer. As a result, it takes longer for cherries to hit full maturity. Bailey expects harvest of the Lapin and Skeena varieties to start around July 28. These are the first export varieties and they will make their way to 22 different countries around the globe. Global Fruit exports to the US, Europe, China, Southeast Asia as well as the Middle East.
These same varieties will be harvested in the Creston Valley, starting August 3rd, but Creston also grows Sweetheart, Staccato and Sentennial varieties. Each region will harvest for about a month, so by early September, British Columbia is expected to wrap up its cherry harvest. “We will have great volume for Labor Day, a time of the year when most other growing regions are finished,” mentioned Bailey. The last loads are expected to leave the cooler around September 20th.
Pouch bags popular in North America
Global Fruit offers its cherries in three types of packaging. Export packaging comes in 9 kg., 5 kg. and 2 kg. loose-fill boxes. “We also do a lot of 1 kg. high-graphic pouch bags as well as a limited volume of 1 and 2 lbs. clamshells. The loose-fill boxes are used for overseas shipments whereas 99 percent of the pouches and clams stay in North America.
Last year was a difficult season for cherries. Because of the warm weather, the crop matured early and harvest finished mid-August. There were 18 rain events during the harvest season, resulting in Global Fruit losing 38 percent of its volume. “The industry got a lot better at combatting weather events like rain. A season like last year would have completely wiped out the crop a decade ago,” shared Bailey. Cherries like warm days and cool nights.
Good size cherry, not a massive crop
Bailey is looking forward to a good cherry crop. “It won’t be massive, but it looks like a nicely spaced crop. Nice spacing on the trees will make for a good size cherry. It’s exactly what we want to see.”
For more information:
Tel: (+1) 250-428-2320
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