Tips To Pick Your Own Fruit At Okanagan BC U-Pick Farms
Do you plan to pick your own fruit at an Okanagan U Pick farm? What a great way to enjoy a beautiful day, especially if you're here on vacation! Here are some tips for fruit picking and keeping fruit fresh once you take it home... if you don't eat it all first, that is ;-)
U pick farms and fruit stands are scattered all throughout the Okanagan valley regions.
Some orchard markets also offer orchard tours, cozy lunch bars, petting zoos, ice cream and gift shops.
And you can find locally made products like jams and jellies, pies and other treats.
Okanagan fruit season begins in early June and continues through the fall, and ripening times overlap a bit with different varieties, location and weather.
Okanagan U Pick Fruit Picking - The What, When & How
Cherries are the first fruit to ready for harvest here, usually around the beginning of June, followed by apricots, peaches and plums.
Apples are the grand finale of our fruit season. Keep in mind that ripening times are a guideline and can very by a week... or three.
Fruit is generally harvested earlier in the South Okanagan, up to three weeks before other regions, because of the warmer year round climate in that region.
In the Similkameen area, including Keremeos and Cawston, you can begin to get fruit around mid-June. In the North Okanagan, mid July is when you can find fresh produce.
Call ahead a week or two before the earliest harvest time.
That way, should fruit be ready early, you're still in good timing. Orchardists keep a close eye on their crops, and weather pending, an extra day of heat and sunshine can make a difference in the degree of ripenining of fruit.
Best Time For Fruit Picking
It can get extremely hot in the Okanagan, particularly in the southern end of the valley, so the best time to pick the fruit is early in the morning when fruit is still cool, and the hot sun has not begun to further ripen it. Most orchards with U-picks are open around 8 a.m. and ready and waiting for customers.
What To Bring With You To Pick Your Own Fruit
Essentials to make your day of fruit picking fun...
Fruit Picking Tips - Choosing Only The Best Fresh Fruits
Really, it's not that technical, but here's a couple of tips to help you get the best when you pick your own fruit off the tree. With a few exceptions, such as pears, most Okanagan fruit will have the best flavor if it is allowed to ripen on the tree and then eaten fresh within a few days. But, it will store longer if picked before it is fully ripe.
As a rule of thumb, fruit is best picked when the it separates easily from the trees branch. If it is hard to pull off the tree, it isn't ready to come off! Try to pick fruit with the stems on.
Preparing Fresh Picked Fruit At Home
If you plan to pick your own fruit in large quantities to freeze, for canning, or to make jams and jellies planning a little ahead will make that job easier. Have you're canning and jam making supplies ready before you go out to pick fruit. That way you won't have to spend an extra day preparing when you get home.
If you do pick your own fruit for canning, once you get it home spread the fruit out on newspapers and separate any bruised or mushy fruit to use immediately.
Fruit Tips - Storing & Keeping Fruit Fresh
What to do after you pick your own fruit ...if you don't eat it all first that is!
Generally, keeping fruit in a nice cool place is most important for preventing fast ripening.
Most fruit ripens well at room temperature, or just under, and when kept out of direct sunlight, will ripen at an optimal rate. Storing fruit in the refrigerator or a cold room between 35 and 45° F will allow maximum storage time for most fruits. Apples keep much longer than peaches or apricots. Some apples will even store over winter. Pears will store for a few weeks in the fridge, whereas peaches won't keep more than a week, even in cold storage.
The best way to avoid problems with fruit flies is to eliminate source of attraction. Fruit that has ripened should be eaten, discarded or refrigerated. Cracked or damaged fruits should be cut away and discarded in the event that eggs or larvae are present in the open fruit. Always dispose of fruit waste in sealed plastic bags, and remove it from the house right away.
Okanagan Fruit Pages
Okanagan Fruit History | Harvest Schedule | Cherries | Peaches
Apricots | Plums | Pears | Apples | Orchard Tours & U-Picks
When you pick your own friut it's generally a bit cheaper than if you buy it at the summer farmers markets, or from a fruit stand, but if you don't have the time, or don't really want to pick your own, produce from a fruit and vegetable stand or orchard farm fresh markets are the next best place to get them.
Most importantly, when you head out to an Okanagan Valley orchard or U pick farms to pick your own fruit....Enjoy!
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By: Erika Friedrich Copyright© 2008-2014 OkanaganVacationGuide.com All Rights Reserved