It’s that time of year again!
With the fall harvest right around the corner, we have some crop news updates for you on hazelnuts, pistachios and a variety of fruit.
Keep reading for full details.
Hazelnuts are one of our favourite nuts; not only do they go well on salads and other entrées, but they are the perfect pairing with chocolate. We are very happy to announce that the BC hazelnut crop is recovering at last. Both of our conventional varieties of hazelnuts will be locally sourced, with organics on the horizon in the next few years. Things are looking fantastic this year with an “incredibly good growing season and potentially record crop yields.” Our hazelnut farms have been fortunate with every aspect going well so far – starting with good spring pollination and few to no “blanks.” Many people aren’t aware, but one of the challenges with growing hazelnuts is that in some cases nuts can develop without the kernel or a very small kernel (the part we eat). When this happens, it reduces the overall crop yield, as the empty shells fall from the trees early and never develop. This problem can develop as the result of brown stink bugs that not only cause blanks, but also cause staining of the shell and sometimes the nuts within. Fortunately, there have been very few stink bugs this year.
The fall harvest date for the hazelnuts isn’t set yet, but it is expected to start a week or two later than previous years, likely the last week of September. We are also fortunate this year that there are more farmers growing more hazelnuts than in the past – this will also increase the total amount of hazelnuts available to the market this year.
Did you know that pistachios are a biennial crop? That means that there is one excellent year with a large yield followed by another year with a lower yield. Last year was a high-yield year for the industry and as a result there is expected to be about a 25% reduction in harvested nuts this year. That said, our suppliers are indicating that they won’t know for sure until the nuts are being processed. It’s anticipated that the pistachio crop harvest should begin around mid-September.
It’s been a challenging year for the global cashew market, with smaller crop yields in Asia. Vietnam, where our cashews come from, saw the crop end early, as most trees stopped producing fruit. Fortunately, the quality of the kernels has been higher than in previous years, which has limited the effect on price. That said, there is still some uncertainty in the industry as to pricing for this years’ crop; we hope to know more within a week or so.
A Note on Our Dried Fruit Crops
While it might be a bit counter-intuitive to talk about “dried fruit crops,” the reality is that even our dried fruit is from the new crop. The quality and yield of the fresh fruit that is used has a direct impact on the dried fruit we bring you! If you haven’t tried our dried fruit in previous years, consider it – we guarantee it’s nothing like the dried, overly-sweet dried fruit you find at your local grocery store.
This year’s raisin crop is looking good, with the harvest planned for less than one week from now! So far the fresh fruits are looking healthy and everything is going as expected. Here’s an interesting fact about the word “raisin”: it comes from the Latin word “racemus” and means “a cluster of grapes or berries.” It’s believed that people dried grapes on the vine to produce raisins as far back as 1500 BC!
The apricot crop yield was significantly better compared to last year and more in line with historical averages. Unfortunately, last year there was a late frost during pollination that resulted in a loss of 70% of the usual crop. The growers are very thankful that everything is back on track this year and the harvest and drying is underway already.
Cherries and Strawberries
While we are fortunate that both cherries and strawberries have a long growing season, the peak time for harvest is during the spring and summer months. That means that both of these crops are finishing drying and will be coming to us soon!
Peaches and Nectarines
The harvest is now underway and will be processed and dried shortly. This year the crops were quite heavy, which means smaller fruit size in general due to the higher number of fruits on the trees. Enjoying the fresh fruit in the summer is a real treat, but we’re also partial to enjoying the dried fruit during the winter months with it’s great flavour. The drying process naturally intensifies the flavour, and you can be sure that ours never have artificial colours or flavours.
The pears are being processed now and should be done soon. Everything is looking normal with them. Overall, the weather this year has supported good fruit crops with a lot of rain over the winter months and a mild summer.
That’s all of the crop news so far! Stay tuned to your email and our social media for more crop news updates. Don’t forget – wholesale ordering starts on September 4, when we bring you the best of the new crop from around the world.