Despite cooler temperatures and variable spring weather in both the Okanagan Valley and the Thompson Valley many growers expect a normal, nice cherry crop this year. David Geen’s Coral Beach Farms has 850 acres of orchards in Lake Country, making it the largest individual cherry grower in Canada. Geen said it got cold at the right time this spring, for his orchards.
“We got a cold April and it got cold early which was fortunate,” he said. “The trees did not advance much before it got cold again so the buds were still tight. When the buds open a bit more and the tissue starts showing they don’t tolerate the cold as well.”
But Geen said growers in Washington and Oregon are having a tough year: “Their buds developed and then the cold came so unfortunately they are taking a big hit in production. In general, this will cause the market price of cherries here to rise as the American growers often sell cherries in Canada.”
Okanagan growers hope the crop has come through a cool spring with relatively little damage. However, prospects will depend on the orchard’s location and elevation. Snowfall after blossom seriously affected the cherry crop in Washington State and Oregon. The resulting diminished production should push up prices for Canadian-grown cherries.