Our Northern Cherries Inc trees usually blossom from mid-March to late April. Of course this is very weather dependent, but does average out for most years. Because the South Okanagan tends to be more temperate, that area tends to blossom earlier than the Central Okanagan, where Kelowna is located.
Bees play a very important role in cherry pollination, so Northern Cherries Inc sets up bee hives in our cherry orchards to assist in pollination.
After the cherry tree blossom period is over, small green cherries are seen on trees. These green cherries will grow and change colour, going through different stages: green, pale yellow, pink and red, until they reach their full colour.
From the blossom period to the Earliest Harvest period, usually around mid-June, cherries go through their normal growing process. During this time, we at Northern Cherries Inc keep monitoring the cherries for any insects or disease, and follow the normal spray schedule for cherries.
Because the Okanagan has a semi-arid climate, irrigation is important to keep trees healthy. Nutrient sprays are applied for cherry growth and quality. The weather is closely monitored because rain can affect our irrigation and spray schedule.
When cherries are at the harvest stage, excessive rain can damage the skin of the cherry as it absorbs water. If our growing region is experiencing inclement weather with strong rain, we use helicopters to blow water off the crops to keep the fruit dry. We also use blowers on tractors to dry off the rain water from the cherries.
We also regularly measure sugar content in our cherries as we approach harvest times, in order to pick our cherries at their peak time.
Cherries are picked and packed on the same day so that our produce retains best quality when packed in boxes, ready for our customers.
Summer pruning is also very important after the harvest so that the trees are exposed to maximum sunlight.
Cherry trees are at rest after harvest but still need good care.
Irrigation is applied regularly and post harvest nutrient sprays are also applied.
Once nights are cooler,the leaves then begin to change colour and fall to the ground.
The cherry trees then go to the dormant stage once all the leaves have fallen off and weather turns cold.
Complete pruning is done during winter months.