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even though it contained cherry pits. They eventually rotted too, he noted. The RDOS doesn’t have an

institutionalized program for handling such compost, although it does grind up yard waste, which is used by some commercial operations. If needed, Hamilton figures they can ramp up the cherry composting operation again. “It was very successful.”

Although he oversees the operations in Penticton, Okanagan Falls, Oliver and the Kaleden transfer station, the cherry composting operation took place in Oliver, where most of the agricultural waste comes in. There is no charge for handling it. The fact that local landfill operators in the valley have stepped up to handle waste cherries in years whenever there are weather events that cause rain splits or hail damage, is very gratifying, says Carl Withler tree fruit specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture.

“The alternative is piles of rotting fruit in a public area, attracting predators such as bears and providing an incubator for continued growth of pests such as SWD,” he notes. This way, that waste fruit is turned into a useful, marketable commodity, compost.

“They’ve figured out how to make it work, even though the pits could be an issue in the finished product.” If local landfills hadn’t agreed to compost waste fruit, the environment ministry would have stepped in and insisted some other way be found to deal with the mess, Withler says. At one point, there was cherry juice from rotting fruit going into a pond at a golf course, where it created a situation that killed everything in the pond, and there was a pile of fruit that attracted bears in another community. And, that’s not to mention the smell of rotting fruit.

There isn’t a need for composting every year, Withler points out. For instance, nearly everything that was grown was shipped last year because there was little damage to the crop due to adverse weather.

However, occasionally markets will disappear, leaving growers with a surplus of fruit on hand as well, he adds.

“Composting has been very successful. It’s just great the landfill managers have stepped up to deal with the issue.”


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British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2016 1476 Altacor Ad_BC Fruit_Apple.indd 1

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