Watch Live: CityNews Tonight Vancouver

B.C. stone fruit shortage felt at Abbotsford stand

An Abbotsford farm and fruit stand has had to resort to bringing in U.S. peaches and apricots. Kier Junos reports, this comes after a deep freeze earlier this year destroyed many crops.

You likely won’t find any peaches, nectarines, or other B.C.-grown stone fruit when you walk through fruit stands at your local grocer this summer.

The orchards for these fruits were completely devastated by a cold snap in the Okanagan earlier this year, which could affect fruit harvests for years to come.

At one Abbotsford fruit stand, nectarines and peaches are available for purchase. However, they’re fruit from places like Washington and Georgia.

Jason Lepp with Lepp Farm Market tells CityNews his family’s entire peach crop in the Okanagan was among those to be destroyed by the weather.


Jason Lepp of Lepp Farm Market works at his family's fruit stand. The business is among those to have lost stone fruit crops in the 2024 deep freeze.
Jason Lepp of Lepp Farm Market works at his family’s fruit stand. The business is among those to have lost stone fruit crops in the 2024 deep freeze. (Kier Junos, CityNews Image)

“We’re bringing these peaches in from Georgia right now because, currently, there’s zero Okanagan stone fruit. Those trees all got killed and the buds all fell off, so you don’t get any fruit without flowers. So, right now, we’re bringing in Georgia peaches,” he explained, as he walked CityNews through the stands of his business.

Lepp Farm Market shared the news of the lack of B.C. stone fruit on its website weeks ago. On its website, the family business wrote, “There’s just no way to soften the news.”


Jason Lepp of Lepp Farm Market works at his family's fruit stand. The business is among those to have lost stone fruit crops in the 2024 deep freeze.
The deep freeze that gripped B.C. in early 2024 has meant there may be little to no local stone fruit available at local shops. Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford is among the businesses that saw crops devastated by the cold. (Kier Junos, CityNews Image)

Lepp says he’s never seen a year like this for his orchards, noting, “it takes a lot more work than people think it does to get fruit on the table.”

“If it’s not this, it’s usually one of a hundred other things that can go wrong, and this is part of farming. It’s more devastating this year than just losing a bit of the crop — when you lose 100 per cent of your crop, it’s extremely devastating. Our customers are disappointed,” he continued.

In the Okanagan, Sukhdeep Brar, vice president of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association, says some trees have bounced back since the January cold snap. However, he admits there’s years of more work to do.

“There will be some replanting that needs to be done. And what that looks like is, if I can get a tree to plant next year, it’s still three to six years, depending on the variety of the commodity, of actually getting fruit off of that tree,” Brar explained.

While British Columbians will still have access to good stone fruit from elsewhere, many tell CityNews it just isn’t the same.

The B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association shared in March that harvests for peaches, apricots, nectarines, and plums will be down at least 90 per cent this year. The B.C. Cherry Association had already warned crops could be “dramatically” reduced.


Peaches and other fruit in the shopping cart of a customer at Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford
The deep freeze that gripped B.C. in early 2024 has meant there may be little to no local stone fruit available at local shops. Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford is among the businesses that saw crops devastated by the cold. (Kier Junos, CityNews Image)

In mid-January, the B.C. Interior saw several days of frigid temperatures that dropped to -27 C in Kelowna, killing off those active buds that had only just begun to recover from the 2021 heat dome and harsh winter that destroyed many buds in 2022.

-With files from Charlie Carey

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today