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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Penticton man who rescued family from fire says it’s him who needed rescuing

Months after saving Linda Pakfec and her family from a burning building, Gord Portman says he’s clean

‘We have your grandson’ – Princeton seniors scammed out of thousands of dollars

Two elderly Princeton men are saying they were robbed of thousands of… Continue reading

Four people rescued after floating past Penticton’s Skaha Bridge

Elevated water levels prompts safety message from local fire department

Young Stars Classic postponed due to COVID-19

The event was set to return in September after missing 2019

A list of charge rates or Crown referrals from police oversight bodies across Canada

Here are the rates of charges or referrals to the Crown from their most recent annual reports or online data

Highway 1 remains closed near Revelstoke due to flooding

The Needles Ferry is also experiencing major delays due to traffic backed up from Highway 1

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

Noose graffiti not tolerated by Vernon resident

Woman, son paint over hateful image painted on neighbourhood fence

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Most Read