Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

Pressure on Washington cherries this season

The outlook for British Columbia cherries this season is challenging following two cold snaps earlier this year. While the first frost in January affected several trees, some remained protected–until the second frost hit in April. "There's not much fruit at all–it looks like it's about 10-15 percent production only in the Okanagan Valley," says Gagan Grewal of HG Produce in Abbotsford, B.C.

Grewal says it looks like there's only about 10-15 percent cherry production in the Okanagan Valley this season.

As for the timing of the season, what production remains in B.C. will likely start on time. "Washington will have a regular start this year and usually when Washington has a regular start, the Okanagan follows," says Grewal, noting that production in Washington looks good with a normal supply and bigger sizing is expected this season. Harvest there may start in early June. However, back north of the border, with the low production situation in B.C., it's reported that some growers have determined it's not even worth picking what's left on the trees this season.

Balancing demand and pricing
As for demand, it could be tricky. The Okanagan's lack of volume is creating a lack of supply overall this season, which means demand will be strong. However, that is likely to push up pricing which could impact movement. "It's a bit of a wait-and-see to see how consumers react and how pricing will go," says Grewal. "Last year was record-breaking numbers for people eating cherries so there's a lot of growth in that category and people wanting them."

Gagan Grewal (right) with younger brother Mantaj Grewal and grandmother.

It's been a challenging few seasons for B.C. cherries which is leaving the industry needing more support. "We need more programs and more funding from the government," he says. "We need more grants to encourage people to plant cherries." He says because of these last few seasons, growers in the Okanagan are walking away from stone fruits including cherries, and moving towards commodities such as wine grapes. "Otherwise there won't be much stone fruit left in the Okanagan Valley." He also adds that other stone fruit in the region could see the same challenges cherries face this season.

Meanwhile, while it's very early, there's more optimism about the province's 2024 apple crop. "The Okanagan and Washington have also been doing well in growing better-quality apples over the last few years. They've been working a lot on new sprays and all sorts of things and improving the quality of the fruit," says Grewal. "The production levels have also been going up consistently every year so we're looking forward to a great year."

For more information:
Gagan Grewal
HG Produce
Tel: +1 (604) 832-0945
[email protected]