B.C. cranberry crop down 50%, according to Langley farmer

The local farmer attributes the downfall to milder winters

A visitor at Riverside Cranberries in Langley holds a handful of berries. Owner of the farm Brian Dewit said his crop yield was down 50 per cent from last year. (TheRiversideBog/Instagram)

The cranberry harvest season is nearing its end, and the production of the bright red berry has not been strong this year.

According to a local Langley farmer, the crop yield is down 50 per cent.

Brian Dewit, owner of Riverside Cranberries, finished harvesting his crop last week and said farms across the province did not have a fruitful season.

“We’ve got some long-term farmers in the industry, farms that have been going for 50, 60 years and these growers have said they’ve never seen this before,” he said. “I don’t know if we can attribute it to the winters, [they] just aren’t as cold as they have been so the plants never go fully dormant.”

READ MORE: Fort Langley celebrates two dozen years of millions of cranberries

Dewit said the plants are expected to fall dormant during the winter months, but recalls January being an unusually warm month.

“The plants started to think about waking up… everything was budding,” he said.

However, in February there was a cold snap and the plants experienced “freeze drying,” Dewit explained, where water had started to move up into the buds causing them to swell up but the dip in temperatures in February resulted in them freezing over and eventually breaking off.

“Some farms got hit worse. Some farms survived with very little impact. It was totally random, but overall it’s affected the industry to the tune of at least 50 per cent of last year’s crop,” said Dewit.

British Columbia accounts for 12 per cent of cranberry production in North America, according to the province’s growers’ association.

Mike Wallis, manager at the association, was reluctant to say how much the crop yield was down because the final numbers aren’t in yet but said he estimates between 40 to 50 per cent.

‘The general consensus is the crop is down,” he said.

Wallis said the industry had it’s best production last year and attributes that to the downturn this year, as well as what he called “winter injuries.”

“Once you have a big crop, the following crop it takes a little bit out of the plant,” he said.

However, Dewit said his plants still looked promising after last year.

“Typically we average between 85 to 90 million pounds a year in production for the whole province and last year we did a 120 million pounds, so it [was] up significantly. So the plants looked good after that, surprisingly, considering the stress of carrying a huge crop,” Dewit explained, adding much of the summer was troubled by smoke from the forest fire.

The local farmer attributes last year’s surge in production to the high volume of honey bees out in the fields.

However, he isn’t reading too much into what this might mean for next year’s production.

“There are so many variables that come into play when you’re farming. You can do everything by the book and still end up with anomalies,” he said.

Aside from some field maintenance and eventually winterizing his equipment, Dewit is wrapping up for the season. He said he won’t be looking at starting any major fieldwork until April.


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

WHAT’S IN STORE: Langley City getting its sparkle on tonight

From 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12 a number of downtown merchants are holding a shopping party

Hallmark-famous Santa makes one last stop in Aldergrove

Keith Alton’s 50th year as St. Nick continues on Friday (Dec. 13) at Aldergrove pierogi shop

Drugged, drunk drivers pulled off Langley roads

Criminal charges and three-month driving bans were laid

$16,500 raised in Aldergrove, 66 kids go to camp free in memory of Brooklyn

Family and camp friends remember late young Loft Country rider during Saturday night fundraiser

VIDEO: Langley’s newest high school officially opens

A brief ceremony Thursday morning allowed all the players involved in new school to celebrate

‘British Columbians are paying too much’: Eby directs ICBC to delay rate application

Attorney General David Eby calls for delay in order to see how two reforms play out

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Couple who bought $120k banana duct-taped to wall say artwork will be ‘iconic’

Pair compared it to Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans,’ which was initially ‘met with mockery’

Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

National cold case hunters take on search for missing man last seen in B.C.

Kristofer Couture’s car was found at Chilliwack trailhead in January but there’s been no sign since

Metro Vancouver mayors green light regional business license for ride-hailing

Surrey mayor only member to vote against inter-municipality business license

Owner surrenders dogs chained up outside among scrap metal, garbage to BC SPCA

Shepherd-breed dogs were living in ‘deplorable conditions.’

Most Read