January’s sudden cold snap amid mild winter weather could spell disaster for fruit trees in the Creston Valley.
According to Wloka Farms Fruit Stand, this means there will likely be no peaches or other soft fruit growing in the valley this year.
Frank Wloka said the damage is likely not limited to the Creston area.
“All the information I’m hearing is that basically, it’s affecting all of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Montana. It’s all to do with the Arctic front in the early part of January,” said Wloka.
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The situation was made worse by the mild temperatures in the weeks prior.
“We were so warm prior to the Arctic front moving in fruit buds were already moving, they still had green tissue in there,” said Wloka.
Wloka said they expected some crop reduction, but with the analysis from an agronomist, they learned it was much worse.
“The mortality that we experienced on everything we checked was 100 per cent,” said Wloka. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that every tree and every bud is 100 per cent killed, but it’s certainly an indication that the severity of the damage is extensive and far-reaching.”
Wloka said he is unsure if this means the fruit crop will be completely lost or drastically reduced, as it is still too early to tell.
“It’s going to be a loss year, for sure, and how we manage that to get through the year and into the following year is a big question for us,” said Wloka.
The impact of this level of crop failure will also impact the wider community.
“It’s not just the farmers,” said Wloka. “It will hit across the valley big time, and what our loss will be could probably be felt tenfold by the region as a whole, just because of this hit.”
In a Facebook post, Wloka Farms said apricots and plums may fare better, but there is no guarantee of a crop.
“We are going to plow ahead (pun intended) with our gardens and the year and keep our fingers crossed. We expect to have lots of vegetables as normal, just little or no fruit,” said Wloka Farms.
Source - https://www.mycrestonnow.com