Fruit trees on mid-Island have smallest crops in years

Fruit trees on mid-Island have smallest crops in years

WATCH: The weird weather on B.C.’s coast this year is having a long lasting impact on fruit trees. As harvest season approaches and pickers prepare to take advantage of the fruit growing on trees they’re finding crops they say will go down as the worst in years.  Skye Ryan reports. 

After weeks of waiting, fishermen lined Nanaimo’s harbour Thursday catching pink salmon in a rite of fall on B.C.’s coast.

“Yeah everybody’s been waiting and waiting to fish down here,” said Nanaimo resident Richard Polachuk, “And finally we’ve got a few fish showing up right.”

The long hot summer is giving way to harvest time traditions on Vancouver Island, but this year, gleaners organizing to pick from fruit trees are finding branches bare.

“We’re going to get at least a quarter of the fruit we got last year,” said Nanaimo Community Gardens’ Lee Sanmiya. “Maybe even less.”

Sanmiya says it’s the worst year for fruit trees here she can remember and credits the cold wet spring that stretched into June for the absence of apples, plums and cherries this fall.

“So if the weather’s really cold and rainy then insects can’t get out to pollinate during that critical time of bloom which is a week or two maybe for some trees,” said Sanmiya

The owner of  Nanaimo’s Westwood Orchard with 1,200 trees in it says it’s the first time in 19 years she has had no apples and she’s not alone.

“Yes definitely,” said Sanmiya. “There’s lots of people that have said they think there is something wrong with their tree and it needs pruning but I’ve assured them it is likely this season. For a lot of people, it might just mean that they are getting stuff at the grocery store instead of getting free, gleaned produce which can have quite an impact if you’re looking at someone from a low-income family.”

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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