August 05, 2016 - 1:00 PM
OKANAGAN - If you enjoy Okanagan peaches there’s no time like the present to pick some up, say growers.
B.C. Fruit Growers Association general manager Glen Lucas says there have been no issues in terms of peach growing conditions this year.
“It’s been a very strange year weather wise, but nonetheless, it is an early crop,” he says.
Lucas says growers are saying it is at least two weeks ahead of schedule, even ahead of last year, which was also early.
“What we’re finding with the peach crop is the timing is throwing people off a bit. Freestone is one of the first ripening varieties, great for canning, but they were ready two weeks ahead of time, and home canners got caught off guard,” he says, adding orchardists have also been playing catch up with the crop.
Lucas says apart from that, the peach crop has been good quality and it's been a normal supply year.
“Peaches generally aren't thought of in terms of bumper crops, but this year has introduced no weather issues that have limited supply,” he says. He also notes the prevailing thought earlier in the year was the unsettled conditions experienced in June and July would slow down the crop, but that hasn't happened, as growth maintained a steady pace.
Brenda Wendell of Wendell Orchard and Vines grows five varieties of peaches on her orchard in Winfield.
“They’re two weeks ahead of schedule, and coming off fast and furious,” she says.
Wendell began picking in early June and will probably finishing picking around mid-August.
Wendell says her orchard is located in a micro-climate that has her picking around the same time as growers in the South Okanagan. She says the hot weather the valley experienced earlier in the year drove the early season, with the subsequent unsettled weather having no adverse effect.
“They’re a nice size, nice flavour,” she says.
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