Well the rains that came early in the week were wonderful for most of the crops but they have a big negative side effect on the sweet cherries. When sweet cherries are getting ripe the sugar in them draws in water. The rain is absorbed through the roots but the cherry itself will draw in water through the skin by osmosis. So when we have rains and foggy humid weather the cherries are busy sucking in water and then they split. The ripest variety, Cavalier, was over 50% split so we had to pull out of them and then machine harvest them for processing. (Still a very good value to us). Our next variety, Ulster, is actually very firm and sweet and they are not split as bad because they weren’t as ripe when the rains came. We have a very nice load of Ulsters and they will be perfect for picking this weekend and next week. The splits are a pain but if the u-pick customer takes a few extra minutes they can sort them out.
Our early variety of Apricots have been coming in. This apricot tastes great and gets good size but it is not as firm as the later varieties. They work well for jam or eating a few out of hand but I don’t recommend lug sales until we get to a later variety in a week or so.
This weekend should be very good raspberry picking too. The rain really helped them to get big and sweet!
Tart cherries will start early next week for u-pick customers who will search for the ripest fruit. We have a crazy heavy crop. Tart cherry trees become brittle as they age (who doesn’t?) and the older trees will be falling apart under the heavy load. Customers frequently are very concerned for us when they see how many trees fail under the heavy load. It would be nice if they didn’t break down but we have been able to keep the older block going strong with heavy pruning and management, so it comes with the territory. The younger tart trees are more pliable and if they have been trimmed well they will be fine. The crew has the pitter put together and we will have the tart cherry pitter running next week when we get fully into tarts.
It is a very good year for fruit and I recommend giving u-pick a try.