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Crops surviving extremes

Harvesting: Andy Kemitzis, owner of Sandy Acres Berry Farm, says the high temperatures haven’t had a big impact on his crops, which include strawberries, raspberries, cherries and blueberries. - Chelsea Grainger/Observer
Harvesting: Andy Kemitzis, owner of Sandy Acres Berry Farm, says the high temperatures haven’t had a big impact on his crops, which include strawberries, raspberries, cherries and blueberries.
— image credit: Chelsea Grainger/Observer

The recent scorching temperatures in the Shuswap as well as some heavy rains have so far had little negative impact on fruit crops in the area.

“There hasn’t been any appreciable amount of damage,” said Allen Peterson of Peterson Orchards in regards to temperatures in the high thirties.

“Trees will start drying out or wilting and it could lead the cherries to sunburn.”

Peterson says heat is always a little bit of a concern but as long as the extremely hot temperatures don’t last too long, it’s not a major problem.

Andy Kemitzis, who owns Sandy Acres Berry Farm, said he’d rather have high heat than heavy rainfall, and he hasn’t seen much damage to his crops yet this season due to the heat.

“When it’s hot, the fruit gets ripe faster so it doesn’t get the size,” said Kemitzis, emphasizing that his irrigation system works wonders for keeping fruit cool.

However, the recent heavy rainfall slightly damaged Kemitzis crops, causing him to lose a few strawberries and cherries, but nothing substantial.

Kemitzis said the main effect the heat has had is it’s reduced his picking time when it gets just too hot outside.

Stuart Hanna, of Hanna and Hanna Orchards, also noted that picking time is decreased, but the apples are in good shape.

However, rain, like what occurred two weeks ago, is welcome.

“We’re still doing okay,” said Hanna. “That was just an awesome rain, it’ll make a huge difference.”

 

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