British Columbia’s South Okanagan Valley started cherry harvest in mid-June. “There has been a lot of rain in June for growers to deal with in the early part of the season, but the size and quality have been fantastic thanks to the latest installations of Cherry Vision 3 in the packing houses. However, the volume is dramatically down on previous years,” says Richard Isaacs, Commercial Director of Global Fruit, “and this will be the story for the whole season in the Okanagan Valley from the south to the north.”
The team of Global Fruit as last year's PMA Fresh Summit. From left to right: Laurel Angebrandt, Andre Bailey, Mike Isola and Richard Isaacs.
Numerous weather events in the winter and spring took their toll on the blossom, with some orchards barely having any fruit set at all. Others have perhaps 70 percent of a normal crop. “There does appear to be less fruit as you move further to the north through the Okanagan valley, and the same is true of later ripening varieties and higher elevation orchards,” added Isaacs. “It will be a very tough year for many growers, but we know our customers will work with us to support them. We will still have good volumes in the Okanagan throughout July until the middle of August, just not as much as we would all have hoped for and expected this year.”
Chelans from South Okanagan - picked and packed June 19.
Global Fruit works exclusively with many growers in the Creston Valley, known for being the last region in North America to have cherries available. The company also has its own farm in Creston, where it grows red and blush cherries. “We are seeing a good crop on the trees on our farm and many others in Creston,” shared Isaacs. “The timing will be seven to ten days later than last year, which means cherries will likely be harvested right through the end of August.” For North American consumers this means cherries could be available in stores all the way through Labor Day weekend. For overseas customers who take ocean freight containers, cherries could still be arriving well into September. Creston’s growers are hoping for good weather in July and August to fully realize the potential of the region’s late crop.
Overall, the BC cherry industry expects to be well down on the volume that was originally anticipated for 2020. With less cherries per tree, Isaacs expects to see large, healthy, strong, crunchy, and sweet cherries all the way into September.
Skeena variety in West Kelowna.
For more information:
Global Fruit – Commercial Director
Tel: (+1) 250-428-2320
Global Fruit – US Sales
Tel: (+1) 250-215-8533