Farmers in British Columbia are waiting for their cranberries to turn the right shade of red. As a result, many are now behind when it comes to harvesting their crops.
“This is an unusual season for us,” says Ted Bowman of the Fort Wine Co. “The spring was a little late in coming, and so we're about three weeks behind where we would normally be at cranberry harvest time.”
Cranberries all start out as white berries. Over the summer, the sun changes them to a deep red. The more sunlight, the quicker they ripen.
“Cranberries love sunshine. So our challenge here is that most folks are looking for that lovely red cranberry, and that only comes when the berry has a chance to get enough sunshine and fully mature,” explains Bowman. “So, as a result, we're a little delayed.”
The cool, wet spring and early part of summer is contributing to that delay.
At harvest time, cranberry fields are flooded, first to knee height and then to waist height. Machinery knocks the fruit from the plants and workers scoop up the floating berries. From there, they are produced in many ways.
“Our cranberries have lots of plans, and most of them involve being turned into lovely wines,” says Bowman. “We make three types of cranberry wines, and we also have some of our berries in fabulous chutneys and wine jellies. So while they were traditionally sent off to be turned into juice, our cranberries now have found lots of new markets.”
For more details on the weather forecast across the province, head to The Weather Network's British Columbia Cities Index.