May 19, 2016 - 9:00 PM
“GET YOUR JAM POTS OUT, IT’S TIME TO SNAP INTO ACTION”
OKANAGAN - Strawberry farmers in the Okanagan say it’s the earliest harvest in recent memory — if ever.
The juicy, ruby-coloured berries made their debuts across the Thompson-Okanagan this week, with locals snapping them up from Kamloops to Penticton.
“People don’t believe they’re from our own farm,” laughs Leah Campbell of Davison Orchards in Vernon’s Bella Vista area. “We’ve literally been taking pictures and videos of us in the farm to convince people they are locally picked with our own hands.”
The Davison family has been farming in Vernon for generations, and Campbell says everything they grow on the farm is coming earlier than they've ever seen it.
“Last year my grandpa was saying this was the earliest season he’s ever seen, and this year we’re even earlier than that,” she says.
The strawberries, ready a good three weeks sooner than normal, are no exception. Of the four varieties the Davisons grow, one crop is already close to being finished.
“What’s important to know is strawberry season is now, enjoy them while they’re here, because they might be over before you expect them to come,” Campbell says. “Get your jam pots out, it’s time to snap into action.”
Another local farm is also getting some surprise reactions from customers. At the Vernon Farmers Market today, May 19, people were gushing over strawberries from Khun Khun Farm, located in the Swan Lake area.
“They’re just flying off the tables,” Nicole Rich says.
The berries are an unbelievable 28 days early this year, she says, and while it’s still spring, they taste like summer.
“In June, July and August you get a sweeter berry because of the amount of heat they’re getting, but considering these are a May berry, they’re really tasty,” Rich says.
While an early start means an earlier finish for most strawberries, Rich says there’s a good chance those with ever-bearing plants could likely enjoy a bumper crop this year.
“Those ones will continue to go on through the summer as long as the weather is right,” she says.
The Okanagan has been enjoying above average temperatures over the past couple of months, including several record-setting days. Okanagan cherries are also expected to arrive extremely early this year.
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