The cherry harvest is in full swing here at Thiessen Farms.
That is both a good thing, and a bad thing!
First the good.
Almost everybody loves cherries, and we are no exception. Most mornings (when I am not at market) I am on my bike just after dawn riding through the orchards determining which cherry trees are ripe enough to be picked that day. Of course the only way to be sure is to sample and taste the cherries ... many cherries, from many trees... Call it fast food, breakfast to go, meals on wheels, or cherry smorgasbord - I call it delicious! One of the perks of the job.
At the farmers' markets the customers are also very happy to see cherries. For more than a month now we have been selling plants - herbs and vegetable plants. For more than a month now, people have been asking for cherries. Finally we have them and everybody is happy!
Cherries are our first major fruit crop of the season. Having had no significant farm income since last October, cherries are important for the cash flow.
Now some bad.
Cherries are the most stressful crop we grow. Old timers like to say that you can count on a good cherry harvest 1 out of 5 years. The optimists say 1 out of 3.
Weather is the biggest peril. A cold, rainy blossom time or even a late frost can cause a poor fruit set. Winds can damage the small cherries. And once they begin to ripen, rains can cause the cherries to split or crack, and rot.