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Okanagan Valley orchardists coping with hot weather

The Okanagan heat wave is creating challenges for orchardists and farm labourers. - Morning Star file photo
The Okanagan heat wave is creating challenges for orchardists and farm labourers.
— image credit: Morning Star file photo

Hot weather has residents basking in the sun but it’s placing pressure on Okanagan orchardists.

Recent high temperatures have impacted orchard operations throughout the valley.

“The summer heat will add an extra challenge to getting crops off in good shape, but we want to assure our loyal customers that there is adequate supply of cherries from now through to August and even into September” said Fred Steele, B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association president.

Fruit growth at hot temperatures will slow or stop, then resume when temperatures drop to normal temperatures for the season.

Cherry harvesting is being done primarily before noon when temperatures are cooled and fruit is being chilled as quickly as possible after picking.

Fruit ripens more quickly as temperatures rise so the amount of time available to harvest the fruit is shorter.

“We are looking for local fruit pickers to get the crop off the trees faster than usual,” said Steele.

Interested individuals can call Ron Forrest, facilitator of the BCFGA labour project, at 250-859-7503.

“Right now, we have one order for 50 pickers that is unfilled and by next week, the tree fruit industry will need more workers,” said Steele.

The apple season starts with early season varieties in mid-August and the regular apple season begins in September.

“We are hoping for more moderate weather then, but the long range forecast is calling for more heat,” said Steele.

 

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