April 24, 2015 - 1:04 PM
VERNON - North Okanagan residents are biting into fresh, local produce about two weeks early this year thanks to the warm weather.
At the Vernon Farmer’s Market Thursday, there was no shortage of Okanagan-grown food and shoppers were eating it up.
A steady stream of customers kept Corinne Jeppesen with the Armstrong Asparagus Farm busy selling bundles of fresh green spears. The first asparagus pick of the season was Saturday, April 18, and while it’s not the earliest in the farm’s long growing history, it’s certainly ahead of schedule.
“It’s the first fresh taste of spring,” Jeppesen said of the much anticipated spring vegetable.
Asparagus season typically lasts 6-8 weeks and the last pick of the year is set for June 21, Jeppesen said.
Farmer Robin Wiens of Stepney Hills Farm in Armstrong has noticed many early harbingers of spring: frogs, swallows and insects all out sooner than normal. His strawberry plants are already showing blossoms, a sign conditions are about two weeks ahead this year.
Environment Canada is calling for above average temperatures from now though June, but while it’s hotter than usual, Wiens cautions gardeners not to be tempted into planting outdoors just yet.
“There’s still a risk of frost,” he says. “I always wait until the last full moon in May to put the really tender stuff out.”
Meanwhile, while the mercury rises, the snowpack has dropped below average, and that could be trouble for farmers later this summer. The North Okanagan Regional District is already asking residents to go easy on water use.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015