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Cherry season is already underway in the South Okanagan

Several south Okanagan fruit stands began selling the first Okanagan cherries of the season today, June 11, 2020.
Several south Okanagan fruit stands began selling the first Okanagan cherries of the season today, June 11, 2020.
Image Credit: Facebook / Kailay Fruit Market

In spite of a brutally unseasonal start to June weather, the Okanagan cherry season has begun with fruit stands in the Osoyoos area already selling this year’s earliest-ripening varieties.

C&C Family Orchards in Osoyoos have begun picking Chelans right now. Manager Paul Sandhu says it’s a pretty light crop this year, at about 50 per cent.

He said late frosts in April caused some damage, but quality of the existing fruit is good.

Santina varieties should be ready next, but Sandhu says his Lapins were virtually wiped out by early spring weather.

He says he’s not only concerned about rain for later ripening varieties, but the cooler weather isn’t helping either, reducing the amount of sugar content in the fruit.

“We really need the hot weather,” he says.

C&C’s fruit stand opened for the season today, June 11.

Kailay Fruit Market also reports they are selling their own fresh picked Tieton cherries. 

Oliver Garden & Fruit Market also reports having cherries for sale today.

Further north in the Okanagan Valley, B.C. Cherry Association Sukhpaul Bal says the rain in June has so far been an inconvenience to orchardists trying to apply sprays, as the rain reduces their effectiveness.

Splitting of cherries due to excessive moisture hasn't been an issue—yet.

“We’ve planted later varieties that won’t likely be ready until August, so the rain so far hasn't been a problem for splitting,” Bal says.

He says picking of earlier varieties will not likely begin before the second week of July in the north Okanagan.

“We’re excited to get started and see some good quality cherries this year. The size should be good with the reduced crop expected,” he says.

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