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The good news and bad news about this year's Okanagan cherries

Image Credit: PEXELS

A cool spring has delayed the 2022 cherry season in the Okanagan and Kamloops. And while the fruit will be scarcely available on Canada Day, the late start means some varieties will still be available come Labour Day.

The growing season varies in each community between Osoyoos and Kamloops, but they have all been delayed by 10 days to two weeks behind compared to a typical year, according to Glen Lucas, general manager of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association.

“Everyone is expecting the crop to be a little lighter than usual,” he said “But what I’m hearing is that because there’s not as many cherries, the remaining cherries are going to be bigger.”

Growers hope for the first cherries to be ready by the Canada Day long weekend, Lucas said, but that won’t be the case this year.

“There will be some cherries around, but those early cherries will probably be peaking after July 1. It’s an important holiday for us to launch our season and the timing isn’t quite right this year.”

READ MORE: Shipping Okanagan cherries around the world is more complicated than you think

But it’s not all bad news.

“We now have some new varieties that produce into late August, even the start of September in some seasons,” Lucas said.

And with such a late start to the 2022 season, he expects those new varieties will still be producing cherries come September.

Also, the wet weather – which is notorious for ruining cherry crops – didn’t come at a bad time.

“They won’t crack until they start turning red,” farmer Joe Ciaramella, who runs CC Orchards in Naramata, said.

However, Ciaramella’s cherry trees did experience some frost damage from the cold spring.

“And the bees weren’t happy so pollination was light, which means the crop is light," he said.

READ MORE: Mammoth-sized cherry orchard near Kamloops gears up for second harvest season

Ciaramella doesn’t expect his U-pick farm to open to the public until at least July 10.

In Oliver, titan cherries became available at Hillside Orchards U-Pick earlier this week.

Up the valley in Kelowna, Mike and Lizzy's Cherry U-Pick is expecting to open in the middle of July.

And in Vernon, Peter's U-pick Orchard will be open July 7, and Bright Angel Farms says U-pick cherries will be available around July 10.

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