It seems peaches are hard to come by across the Okanagan.
The cooler start to the summer has halted some varieties of peaches, while other peaches are now just ready to pick.
“The season is late. It is late maturing. We are still picking early Red Havens now and normally we would have wound them up really by August. We would be on our last pick now. It is probably 10 days late,” said Alan Gatzke, owner of Gatzke Orchards in Lake Country.
Meanwhile, Gatzke said he has never seen the demand this high.
“Here in the North Okanagan there are a number of empty orchards, and people are panicking for peaches. We are getting phone calls every day saying ‘Can you sell us peaches?’ If you got peaches on the tree, it is a great time to be a peach farmer.”
On July 25, Paynter’s Fruit Market in West Kelowna announced it had “limited quantities” of apricots and peaches coming in.
At the end of June, Peter’s Orchard in Vernon said it will not be selling any peaches or apricots.
“Due to the unusual and erratic weather conditions we have experienced last summer and this spring, we will not have any peaches or apricots. While the trees did initially blossom as expected, cooler than normal temperatures killed the small fruit buds so the peach and apricot trees are not producing any fruit this season,” the orchard said.
Gatzke says the harvest date of peaches is dictated by the bloom date.
“The delayed dormancy because of the soil temperature in January and February—it didn’t matter what you had—the whole season is pushed back to what we have been used to in the past 10 years. We are back to the 1970s harvest dates. We have had a decade of early seasons.”
Gatzke says he is likely going to pick the late variety of peaches well into September.
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