SUMMERLAND, B.C. –It’s only the third day of the cherry harvest for orchardist Erin Beulah, but instead of picking the fruit, she’s keeping a watchful eye on the weather.
“Rain is pretty disastrous for cherries. They’re quite a fragile fruit,” says Beulah.
Rain fell hard and fast in the south Okanagan Wednesday and Thursday.
When cherries absorb water, it causes the skin to split. That’s why growers attempt to get the rain off the fruit immediately.
Thursday morning, Beulah’s family hired a helicopter to hover over the cherry trees, working like a massive blow dryer.
Beulah paid $1200/hr. It isn’t the cheapest solution, but she believes it is the most efficient to save her crop.
But as soon as the chopper left, it started to rain again.
“It’s pretty damn heartbreaking. It doesn’t get worst than that,” says Beulah.
As it continues to rain, helicopters are on standby.
She will hire another chopper to dry the fruit when the clouds break. She believes it is the only way to salvage the many months of labour.