Cold spring delays the opening of some fruit stands, farm markets

Cold delays fruit stands

You might have to wait if you were hoping to pop by your closest farm market this long weekend to pick up some early season produce.

The cool spring has delayed the opening of some of the well-known destinations in the Central Okanagan.

While Gatzke Orchard’s farm market in Lake Country will throw open the doors this weekend, Paynter’s in West Kelowna told Castanet it won’t be ready until the middle of June, and the Don-O-Ray Farms website says they won’t be open until June as well.

The Glenmore Garden Market is delayed until May 27.

“Pretty much everything that we planted is at least a week or two weeks behind,” said Wei Chen, the son of the owner.

The extreme cold that hit the region in late December is also having an impact. On April 22, Paynter’s posted photos on their Facebook page of some of the damage to their peach trees. It means the crop will be quite small this year.

The B.C. Tree Fruit Growers’ Association has heard from growers that the weather is affecting some of their trees.

“It’s definitely later. One grower mentioned to me that they felt it was ten days later than a normal year. Actually, we’ve had a few years lately where it’s been ahead of itself. We’re seeing this two or three-week swing,” explains general manager Glen Lucas.

“Normally by the end of the season that will either catch up or slow down. So, there’s a lot of time before we see what happens.”

He points out that some orchards are also still dealing with the fallout from last summer’s heat dome.

Even vendors at the Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters Market are feeling the chill.

“This weather is really affecting farmers. They’re like two, two-and-a-half weeks behind. A lot of the stuff still in the greenhouse should be in the ground now. They’re struggling,” says market coordinator Frances Callaghan.

Right now most produce stalls only have greens and some greenhouse plants for sale. Usually, they have a bit more to offer by the Victoria Day long weekend. Callaghan notes that asparagus is already almost done because it doesn’t thrive in these kinds of conditions, and that’s hurt some of the vendors who rely on it as one of the higher profit commodities.

The unseasonable cold isn’t keeping shoppers away, though. “Our Saturday markets are still strong. People are still coming out. So I think what it is, people want to be outdoors,” she adds.

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