Up and Down Weather Harming Cherry Crops



Every season, Mark Barrett tends to his cherry fields, which have suffered large losses over the past few weeks due to overnight frosts followed by last week's sudden rise in temperatures.

"It's not normal to have this much up and down, and a lot of wind, we even have wind damage in our cherries also," said Barrett.

Barrett says the frosts and cold nights in April crippled his cherry crops, reducing his expected harvest amount by more than 30 percent.

He typically harvests about 5 tons to the acre, however, that number is most likely going to be around 3 tons this season.  

Growers say it's not just cherries that were affected by the big freeze; they also received dents in apples, apricots, and peach crops as well.

However, some growers say that the weather hardly affected their crops at all; workers at Pence Orchards in Wapato were busy thinning peach trees, which are slated to produce the expected amounts this season.

"We still have a lot of hurdles to get through; rain, hail, wind, disease, insects," said grower Bert Pence, "There's a lot of things that can still go wrong, but at this point, it looks pretty positive for the most part."

Despite the loss in cherry crops, growers say it will make the fruit a bigger demand this upcoming season.

"Typically, that makes the marketing just a bit better for pricing," said Barrett, "So actually, it'll probably be better for us not to have too big of a crop."

Growers say they will begin harvesting cherries near the end of June.