Growers say continuous rain and hail is making it hard to protect cherry crop

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Variable weather has made it difficult for cherry growers to maintain their crops.

According to B.C. Cherry Association president Sukhpaul Bal the hail storm that cut through the Okanagan Thursday didn’t affect the crops anymore than the rain this July, which split and washed out the early cherry varieties.

“When a storm comes through and gets everything wet we can usually get in there and dry everything off and then we’re usually good. But what I’ve seen is rain event after rain event, multiple times a day, so it makes it hard to get in there and dry everything up because another rain shower comes back in,” said Bal.

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

He said it has been the worst season he has seen in 20 years and has slashed cherry growers revenue in half.

“We are going to make half the money we were expecting and we’ve put the same amount of costs up to that point as other years, but that’s the risk of being a cherry grower. In just a week your earnings could be cut drastically,” said Bal.

He said there’s about half the amount of cherries on market shelves than previous years, which means they are a bit more pricey this season.

READ MORE: 435 insurance claims from Okanagan tree fruit growers so far this season

“The positive is with the decrease in supply because a lot of the cherries are damaged there should be an increase in the price of cherries. There aren’t that many that survived so hopefully the price reflects on how many cherries there are,” aid Bal. “Hopefully we do get a good price for the cherries we do have that did survive the rain.”


@LarynGilmour
laryn.gilmour@blackpress.ca

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