While life might not be like a bowl of cherries this summer for some Okanagan farmers of the flavourful tree fruit, optimism grows at Roy Peterson’s historic Salmon Arm cherry orchard.
The Bastion Mountain Farm owner agrees the weather hasn’t been the greatest for cherries this season, with the hot temperatures in June being followed by the cooler, wet days of July. But he says it’s not all doom and gloom at his 70-year old u-pick orchard where bing, van and lambert cherry varieties grow.
“A lot of people are under the impression that they’re all ruined and that’s not the case…,” said Peterson. “Some of them are just now getting really good.”
Peterson says bings are the most susceptible to the weather-related issues that have caused headaches for growers in the North and South Okanagan. But he says they’re typically the cherry that spoil the soonest and easiest.
“The vans have survived reasonably well and a lot of the lamberts too,” said Peterson – not related to Salmon Arm’s Peterson Brothers Orchards. “Nobody knows what the weather will do for sure, but the best cherries are towards the end. They taste best. But the best picking is earlier – it’s kind of a trade off between easier picking and best fruit.”
Among other u-picks selling cherries in the North Broadview area, Follack’s Farm reports about 75 to 80 per cent loss, but still has fruit to be picked. Mary-Ann Van Oeveren at Tasty Acres reports her cherry orchard is looking good, something she suggests may be due to their being grown organically.