Heat wave forces earlier harvest

LifeCycles needs volunteer pickers to keep up with demand

Brian MacDonald picks transparent apples from a privately owned tree that partly hangs over Francisco Park in Gordon Head.

The dry summer weather has led to an early start on fruit harvests, and the need for volunteers is as great as always for the LifeCycles Fruit Tree Project.

LifeCycles anticipates a 40,000-pound fruit harvest in the Greater Victoria region over the next two months.

“We always need more volunteers as we have the potential to harvest even more fruit,” said Fruit Tree Project co-ordinator Jenny McCartney. “This year’s expected harvest is up from 32,000 pounds last year.”

The Fruit Tree Project allocates 25 per cent of the harvest to the tree owner, 25 per cent to the volunteers, and shares the rest with community associations, food banks and others. The annual harvest is four months long and collects fruit from privately owned trees that would otherwise go to waste.

A lot of the problem is all the fruit is ripening at the same time, McCartney explained. In particular, LifeCycles has noted a need to get the message out about watering apple trees.

“Without water, trees will protect themselves by dropping the fruit before it’s ripe, and earlier than normal. People here aren’t used to having to water fruit trees. Last year was the first year we realized a need to water trees in Greater Victoria.”

The apparent climate change is showing its effect as 2015 is the earliest harvest in nine years of the Fruit Tree Project.

“We track our harvesting with data and can see the trend is earlier and earlier every year,” said McCartney. “This year, for example, is three weeks earlier than last year and about four to five weeks earlier than four years ago.”

As California is in its fourth year of a significant draught, LifeCycles said the residual effect is a 25 to 50 per cent spike in B.C. produce prices over the next five years.

“LifeCycles has contributed so much,” says Sheila Avery, co-ordinator of food security at Saanich Neighbourhood Place. “They have connected community members to contribute vegetables and fruits to our many families.”

To volunteer or register a fruit tree to LifeCycles visit lifecyclesproject.ca.





Just Posted

Victoria teen killed on field trip near Sooke

Second youth also injured in falling tree incident at Camp Barnard

Scorpion gives birth at Victoria Bug Zoo after hitching ride in woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

Oak Bay double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst says no shoe prints found in unit

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Final bell could sound for project that allows Victoria grads to dress in style

Magic Wand must find space to store its prom attire for Greater Victoria students by end of June

Man accused of Brentwood Bay murder appears in court

Alan Chapman tells judge he wants next court appearance to be “as far away as possible”

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read