WHAT ARE CHERRIES?
Cherries are a small, round, dark red stone fruit. They grow on
trees in small clusters. There are both sweet cherries and sour
cherries grown in BC. Sweet cherries are round or slightly
WHERE ARE CHERRIES PRODUCED IN BC?
Cherries are grown in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Kootenay
Valleys. They are sensitive to winter and spring frosts.
HOW MANY CHERRIES DO WE PRODUCE?
BC produces 5.5 million kilograms of sweet cherries and 1 million
kilograms of sour cherries. This is about 60% of the Canadian cherry
crop. The main varieties grown in BC are Bing, Lambert, Van, Lapins
and Sweetheart. Newer varieties like Lapins and Sweethearts are late
varieties which are receiving high returns in eastern and offshore
HOW ARE CHERRIES PRODUCED?
Once planted, a cherry orchard takes 4 to 6 years to reach full
production. Once cherry trees are established, the orchardist must
regularly prune; fertilize; control weed growth, insects and
disease; water; and replant trees to ensure the orchard is always
healthy. Bee hives are placed in the orchards after the first blooms
open to ensure pollination.
Cherries are harvested during the summer, mainly late June
through July. Fruit must be harvested carefully because it can be
damaged in picking or in moving from bucket to bin. Bruised fruit
will not keep long, even in proper storage conditions. Fruit must be
cooled immediately after being picked to avoid moisture loss.
Shriveled fruit is not attractive to buyers.
WHAT DO CHERRIES LOOK LIKE WHEN I USE IT?
Cherries are eaten fresh, made into pie filling, flavoured
yogurt, jellies, jams, sauces, stewed fruit, fruit drinks, ice cream
and candies. Cherries are a good source of vitamin C, the B
vitamins, potassium and many micronutrients. Most sweet cherries are
eaten fresh. Almost all sour cherries are processed.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE CHERRIES LEAVE THE FARM?
After cherries are picked, they are put into bins and moved from
the orchard. Cherries are taken to packing houses where they are
cooled before being packaged and shipped to buyers. Cherries are
best kept at -1C to 1C throughout these operations to retain
maximum quality. Cherries should be shipped to market 24 to 48 hours
WHAT CHALLENGES DO CHERRY PRODUCERS FACE?
Little Cherry Disease is a serious threat to the cherry industry
in the Okanagan-Similkameen and Kootenay Valleys. Japanese flowering
cherries, a common ornamental grown in many gardens, can carry this
disease without showing any signs of it. In an attempt to protect
the cherry orchards, it has been made illegal for these flowering
cherries to be grown in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys.
Researchers are developing dwarfing rootstocks. These smaller
trees could be planted closer together thereby increasing total
production per acre. Because the trees are smaller, labour costs for
pruning and harvesting are reduced and smaller spray volumes are
required due to less total leaf area.
WHO'S INVOLVED IN PRODUCING CHERRIES?
- Orchard owner
- Cherry picker
- Packing house employees
- Transporter/Truck drivers
- Fruit Processors
1 cup, 21 cherries (140g)
||Calories from Fat 0
||% Daily Value*
|Total Fat 0.5g
|Saturated Fat 0g
|Total Carbohydrate 22g
|Dietary Fibre 3g
|Vitamin A 2%
||Vitamin C 15%
|*Percent Daily Values are based
on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Interesting Fact About Cherries:
One of the main reasons that more cherries are not grown in BC
is cherry fruit splitting. Rain covers can protect the fruit from
this, but they can cost $44 to 50,000 per hectare.
Contacts and other resources: