Bumper year for Saskatchewan fruit growers

SASKATOON – While some Saskatchewan fruit farmers have had to deal with flooding this season, many are still touting this as their best year yet.

As harvesting gets underway, the Saskatchewan Fruit Growers Association (SFGA) says everything from cherries to haskaps are thriving.

“Once we finally got rid of the snow we never experienced the late frost or anything so once everything started to grow there was really no setbacks this year,” said SFGA President Wayne Pearson.

“Everything that we grow here is normal or better than we’ve seen in the past,” he added.

Saskatoon berries may be one of the only concerns.

“The Saskatoon berry crop is kind of hit and miss this year, there’s some good crops around and I’ve also heard that there’s literally no crops in some areas and I don’t know what that is, I know some areas have been quite wet,” said Pearson.

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Farmer Peter Rhodes has been one of the lucky ones, with a flourishing crop of Saskatoons. He also grows raspberries and blackberries and agrees they’re finally in for a good year despite losing two acres to flooding.

“I think it might be the best year, provided we don’t get any hail,” he said.

Although the recent moist and warm conditions make for good growing, they’re also the perfect conditions for diseases like root rot.

“We always keep our eye on things,” said Pearson.

“I haven’t seen anything that’s noticeably bad, there are a few things but there always is but we’re pretty happy with what we see this year,” he added.

This year’s harvest is just a couple of weeks behind normal given the late winter. But hot temperatures forecast this week could speed up the ripening process getting growers right back on track.

“We could get a hail storm tomorrow and lose what we’ve got, that’s Saskatchewan, that’s Canada, you should never count your chickens before they hatch,” laughed Rhodes.

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