Okanagan Harvest Blog

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Our Blog is the best way to see what's happening around the farm.

Were you flipping through the TV channels last week and happened upon the Food Networks Pitchin In show with Lynn Crawford and there was Greg and Chris on their farm in the South Okanagan!?!  Showing off our marvelous Rainier cherries to the world and enjoying cherries as a whole new food group.  Thanks Lynn for a fun five days.  Rains damped our spirits for the rest of the season.

This year will be different.... farmers are eternal optomists and once again we are replanting, searching seed catalogues, contacting marketers, pruning and preparing with hearts full of hope for the coming season.  May Greg's back hold out and the cold weather cease soon. Snow is nice but dirt is nicer!

  • Winter at Okanagan Harvest
     What do fruit farmers do in the winter months anyway? Days before Christmas and just a skiff of snow but ice on the pond in the meadow. Greg has been madly building cover for his dump truck and huge rolls of hay for his 14 cows and calves and then replacing windows in his spare time after splitting and delivering wood.  Compost consumes his interest....the results are amazing. ...
  • Blossom Time
    What a crazy few weeks of spring weather we've enjoyed.  Hurrah, take off the long johns, oops, bad idea put them back on it's freezing.  And then today it is glorious and 18.  What is a baby cherry supposed to do?   Although everyone in the valley knows the wind machines are on and therefore it's cold, there has yet to be a killing frost.... touch wood and it...
  • Work in the Okanagan
    Want to work in the Okanagan this summer? You need to know a few facts. Cherry picking starts in Osoyoos in late June. There is very little work until LATE JUNE. You need to come with money if you come earlier. There is no free camping spot. You will be asked to move if you tent by the river or in the hillls around the towns.  Loose Bay Campground in Oliver charges $5/night/person...
  • It's a new season
    Excitement mounts as Greg finishes the pruning and prepares for the new plantings on the home lot. The nasty spring (?) weather can't hold him down and he's busy planning for the future with new plantings of early vans and remvoving unproductive staccatos.   Sorry to all the workers wanting to join our crews.  All our 12 pickers are returning and only a handful of new...
  • Final day of Cherries 2011
    NEVER have we picked cherries this late in the year.  Imagine August 10 before the last fruit is off the trees and now they  look so naked..... Greg is very nostalgic already and its only been a few hours.  Perhaps its the massive amount of peaches ready to be picked and a very small crew to help out explains that.  Our group picture was forgotten when we were a group and...
  • Stormy weather eh?
    This is the tail end of a torrential group of storm clouds that moved through Oliver this afternoon. Happily the temperature stayed cool (never got warm in the first place today) and with the help of helicopters to blow the water off the trees and sprayers blowing the delicate rainiers we are sure our cherries will weather this storm. They are so beautiful!  All shiny and bursting with...
  • Our first day packing!
    Well, that was an amazing day! 6 a.m. start with a brand new crew of  packing house workers and the first pick of rainiers.  They were beautiful!  The cherries and the crew. What a great start and then it rained and out came the helicopters.  Now that is a sight, watching a helicopter fly over the trees and blow off the water. 
  • Peaches all thinned
    The crews have finished the thinning of the peaches! Amazing how those little green balls turn into luscious pesticide-free peaches and fill almost the entire space.  These are young trees grown in a basket shape and not expected to carry a full load.  Scary black clouds threaten in the background.... one of the biggest worries now is hail. Those little bullets leave a pock mark that...
  • Cherries want summer!
    Threatening rain clouds and cool weather are making all of us nervous.... where's the sunshine?  Will the cherries ever ripen?  Indeed they will but later than usual and all the gathered pickers will just have to be patient and wait.  Makes the thinning and weeding jobs easier though!
  • Cherries everywhere
     It's so exciting to watch the cherries grow and not fall off with a massive June drop.  The weather has been so cool and still the cherries are swelling despite the rainy days...... maybe they prefer cooler weather.  And to have cherries all up and down the trees, the pickers will have a ball. Our picking crew is arriving daily and Sara is keeping the lawns mowed beautifully....
  • Second hurdle - bees pollinating full bloom
    Finally some good weather and full bloom. Late this season by about two weeks so far but frost damage seems minimal so far and full bloom coincided with warm days for pollination.  So looks good for a crop! 
  • The calves are all born
     What a cold spring!  Middle of April and still fresh snow on the mountain tops. Makes for a scary spring frost worrying nights.  If the temperature falls below -3c and there is no inversion for the wind machines to pull warmer air down, the buds freeze and there are no cherries.  Quite a worry for a cherry farmer! But the calves have all arrived safely this season with no...
  • It snowed again
     It's the end of March and I am still lighting the fire.... seems wrong somehow. It's cold but still the buttercups are blooming and maybe all the moisture is good in the long run.  And the baby calves are thriving.  Must start cutting back my herb patches and blackberries. Sprouts are up in the seed beds! 
  • March 17 and finally sunshine
     Finally the first springlike day since January! Nasty cold lately and haven't even started my greenhouses yet, although calling my porch a greenhouse is a bit of a stretch.  Multitudes of picker applications have been arriving but our 10 man crew is still full sorry.   Gotta tell you emailers it is hard to hire you over the internet, not one emailer has ever arrived.  Pruning...
  • Finally Spring!
    So you wanted to pick cherries, eh?  Since we downsized to 12 pickers, the only positions we have available have been filled with returning workers. Sorry. But some advice to those wanting to give it a try on other farms..... don't come to valley until mid-June at the earliest. There is no part-time work really until the cherry harvest starts in Osoyoos at the end of June.  Bring good...
  • Times do change!
     After so many years together, we knew the picking crew had to move on eventually and this is the big year of change it seems.  Nadine and Fred started the chain reaction buying land in Gaspesie and then Normand and Sophie bought land close by or maybe it was Sam and Chelsie's baby Mia but now Mike and Julie are moving to their island full time!  Our farm leases  have been...
  • Sorry, our crews are full!
    So many emails and calls about cherry picking jobs and we so wish we could give everyone the opportunity to become cherry addicts!  However, our acreage is cut in half and the crop is light so we only need the dozen pickers who were here last year and have returned.  Camp will be quite a different place with only a dozen staying there this year..... The lettuce is flourishing in this...
  • Cherry Fever 2010
    Greg said this morning to stop worrying about pollination! What a relief.... frost season is about over probably maybe and the bloom is a vision to behold. Camp is surrounded by big old van trees exploding with popcorn blooms and abuzz with a gazzilon bees.  27 degrees today and sunshine. It's an amazing sight.    So now we feed and thin and in just twp short months the harvest...
  • Dried Cherries, Peaches, Tomatoes
    Our newest venture is sun-drying our smaller cherries and heritage tomatoes! The dry house is in experimental stages still but the product from our first season is exceptional. We ran out of sun-time and trays and had to use a commercial dryer for some of this year's cherries but next year!
  • Cherry Fever 2008 begins!
    You may have heard on the news that frost damage is extensive in the Okanagan and therefore the cherry crop is in trouble but here at Okanagan Harvest, Greg and Mike's valiant efforts at frost control have saved the day!
  • April First and Snowing!
    And on and on it goes, this endless winter! It's April 1st and snow fell this morning for many hours! It's happened before but usually there has been some warmer weather to enjoy first. The South Okanagan is not a cold place to spend the winter normally. Buds are very tight still and almost three weeks behind "normal". The wild pussywillows were huge this year though!
  • Finally the ice is melting!
    It's been a long cold winter and finally it seems like the ice is melting. Luckily we reduced our acreage this year and the delay in pruning hasn't been a problem! Very difficult to get around in eight inches of ice with a kangaroo. A kangaroo in the Okanagan is a mechanical ladder used to reach the tops of the trees.
  • Make Your Maker
    I spent this snowy day in March with a group of buyers and sellers of Okanagan products  and what an interesting mix of people that was!  An organization called FarmFolk/City Folk gathered us all together to share a day of networking.  There is an amazing selection of local food entrepreneurs out there so where is the local apple juice, the cheese from Armstrong, the crackers...

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