Cherry-drying helicopter flies over farmland in the Okanagan. (submitted)

Possibly worst Okanagan cherry season in 20 years

Cherry season in the Okanagan takes a hit, farmers try to stay positive

The past two weeks has seen its fair share of inclement weather across the Okanagan and after seeing helicopters flying above farms to dry off this year’s cherry crop, farmers talk about how the rain has affected their farming season.

“Most of our stock is completely unpickable,” said Shelley Kempf, owner of Kempf Orchards. “Probably one of the worst years in 20 years.”

Shelley and her husband Herb have seen about 50 to 60 per cent of their cherries split, causing the early crop of cherries to be all but wiped out.

“Cherries do not want rain,” Kempf said. “We are going to try and keep going.”

READ MORE: Okanagan cherries enter the Japanese market

Kempf is trying to stay hopeful while going through the process of filing for crop insurance compensation and said that the crop later in summer might prove to be fresh and healthy. Otherwise, her nine-acre farmland will not be profitable.

Penny Gambell from Gambell Farms has a variety of crops on their farm, diversifying their portfolio so the impact from poor weather is minimal.

“It’s been a challenge, that’s for sure,” she said with a nervous laugh. “It’s been challenging.”

But overall, Gambell said her cherries are extra sweet this year, definitely pickable and will recover later in summer, weather permitting.

READ MORE: Cherry season is only a few weeks away and as healthy as ever

“A lot of farmers are keeping an eye on the weather but also planning for it,” said BC Fruit Growers’ Association president Bhupinder Dhaliwal.

There are many tactics farmers can use to mitigate damage to their crops Dhaliwal explained, such as proactive irrigation management, rain guards for the cherries or helicopter drying.

Gambell said helicopter drying isn’t economically worth it unless you have at least 10 acres. Instead, she said her son has been drying the cherries after rain fall to keep the cherries from serious splitting.

READ MORE: A young Kelownian’s fatal overdose inspires community-service award


@davidvenn_
David.venn@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

OHA alumna welcomed as new assistant coach for women’s varsity team

Alyssa MacMillan attended OHA from 2011 to 2016

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okangan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Okanagan dancing to the beat of many drums at the Pow Wow Between the Lakes

Day two of the Pow Wow Between the Lakes featured a vast array of dancers of all ages

Summerland cannabis shop receives approval in principle

Inspection now required before Green Gaia may sell cannabis

Kelm wins Okanagan Ogopogo tubbing championship

Robbie Kelm edged out Dr. Lloyd Westby to take the Great Ogopogo Bathtub race title

Osoyoos woman who threatened mom and baby with butcher knife sentenced

Sharon Constance Forner pleaded guilty to one criminal charge and was sentenced

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Fire departments extinguish suspicious wildfire near West Kelowna

Crews established a fire guard and knocked down the blaze before it grew to one hectare.

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Most Read