Current Conditions

Partly Cloudy

Early spring both good and bad for local farmers

Hay farmers say the early spring could mean extra harvests this year.
May 21, 2015 - 7:32 PM

OKANAGAN – The early heat felt across the Okanagan this year has local farmers springing into action.

Producers of vegetables, fruit, hay and alfalfa crops say the warm weather came at least two weeks early this year, meaning they can plant earlier, expect higher yields and very likely harvest earlier as well.

At the Kelowna Farmer’s Market booths are crowded with local berries and vegetables consumers normally wouldn’t see before June.

Sophie Duke of Penticton says one of the main reasons she and her family live in the Okanagan during the summers is the wide variety of easily accessible local produce.

“I was really surprised to see fresh strawberries this early in the year," she says. "It's a treat we look forward to all winter so to have it come early is really neat."

Tony Cetinski with Suncatcher Farm on Benvoulin Road in Kelowna says this is one of the earliest springs he can remember.

“We’re two or three weeks ahead of normal,” he says. “I think the quality will be better too because of it. Obviously plants respond to the sunshine so the more we have the better off we are. Early is always better.”

He says farmers of field crops like hay and alfalfa have the most to gain, with some in his area expecting three or even four harvests this year. That means more feed for livestock and more money in farmers' pockets.

Lorena Wood of Eastwood Orchard in east Kelowna says they have been working long hours trying to make the most of the extra sunshine and lack of frost. She grows organic cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and a variety of apples, all of which have gotten an early start this year.

“Normally when we get early warm weather we also get a late frost, which kills the blossoms,” she says. “Thankfully we didn’t get that this year so we’re really excited.”

Wood says while her fruit trees have a head start, there are always things for farmers to worry about.

“An earlier spring means earlier insects too,” she says. “But it’s worth it because we might have cherries in June this year instead of in July.”

She says an early start to the growing season doesn’t necessarily translate into more profit for farmers but it does have an impact on their finances.

“It won’t necessarily mean more or less money but it will mean earlier money,” she says.

The biggest threat to crops this year is the prediction of a hot, dry summer, Cetinski says.

“Our concern now is water supply,” he says. “We have ample water as long as (Mission) Creek is flowing but snowpack was low... if this continues it could cause an issue. We’ll have to wait until August to know.”

Tony Cetiniski of Suncatcher Farm says he was able to plant his vegetables weeks earlier this year but is still worried about water later in the year.
Tony Cetiniski of Suncatcher Farm says he was able to plant his vegetables weeks earlier this year but is still worried about water later in the year.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular penticton News
  • Comments
  • How Vernon residents are spreading community spirit one painted rock at a time
    VERNON - Located on a nondescript side street in Vernon sits a landmark known by all the neighbourhood kids as ‘The Wishing Tree.’ A little wooden sign describing it as such has
  • Police seek missing North Okanagan teen
    VERNON – RCMP are looking for the public’s help finding a missing 16-year-old North Okanagan girl. Ebony Holmgren was last seen on June 16 in the 11000 block of Tassie Drive in C
  • Depp's 'assassin' comments the latest in celebrity anger
    NEW YORK - Johnny Depp apologized Friday for joking about assassinating Donald Trump during an appearance at a large festival in Britain, the latest example of artists using violent imagery when d
  • Heat wave expected across Interior this weekend
    The Interior is going to be hit by a heat wave. Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement warning about hot weather across the Southern Interior, including the South Thompson
  • Okanagan cherry season is underway
    KELOWNA - Nothing quite says summer in the Okanagan than eating ripe, juicy cherries until your hands are stained red and your stomach is aching it’s so full. Lucky for us, that time is now.
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile