Rural report with Laird Smith

laird22I came across a column by Wally Smith dated July 8 1982 that I felt would be of interest to the worthy readers of my column.

“Rain has caused heavy losses for cherry growers in the Oliver- Osoyoos area, but that is not an uncommon occurrence in this end of the Valley.

It hurts; it hurts a lot even for those carrying crop insurance, but this is part of the gamble called fruit growing.

Going back to 1936, my second summer in Oliver the June 18th issue of the  Oliver News reported, “cherry picking is in progress( between the showers ) for rain has been frequent this month.”

In June that year, more than 3 inches of rain fell at Oliver as recorded by the official rain record. Losses from split cherries were heavy.

The following year, 1937, there was another wet cherry harvest, and the Oliver News June 24th reported, ” there were frequent rains while cherry picking was under way. Losses from splitting varied from 15% to 50%.”

Moving up to 1941 cherry growers suffered more losses when June rains caused splitting and culls ran as high as 50% in some orchards.

In succeeding years there were other wet harvests with spotty losses varying from one area to another. Cherry growers have escaped serious damage in recent years but now we have another wet harvest accompanied by the usual splitting and crop loss.

Some years ago a cherry grower who has been in business a long time said,” Cherry growing is somewhat like playing bingo. If you make it you are in the money, but don’t depend heavily upon cherries because you are sure to have some bad years when the crop is wiped out.”

It may be hard to take but the fact is the long term weather pattern is running very close to normal.”

That is only half the column. Wally goes on to talk about growing other products. I’ll finish that portion of the column next week.

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