Growers check cherries for rain damage

May 9, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
This week's rain couldn't have come at a worse time for Valley cherry growers. Their crop is ready to be picked. Rain can cause cherries to crack and ruin a crop so farmers were glad to see a gradual warm up so they can get back to getting cherries out into the market.

The cherry harvest resumed in a Kingsburg orchard for the first time since the skies opened up. 100 workers were sent home for two days so large cherries growing in impressive bunches could dry out.

Kingsburg cherry grower David Vart of Zediker Produce said, "We don't like to see rain, we don't like to hear about it. We don't like to talk about it."

Vart said water can settle near the stem and oversaturate a cherry until it cracks. An Action News viewer posted video on our Facebook page which showed a helicopter being used to blow water off cherry trees near Sanger.

Vart though used a different method to dry his cherries. "We have a few air fan sprayers and we like to go through and have our own method of blowing the trees and trying to dry them out as much as we can without overdoing it."

Vart grows fifty acres of cherries including the lighter colored red and yellow Rainier variety. He said this year's crop survived the storm quite nicely.

"We're pretty happy with what we've seen," said Vart. "There's no major cracks. You may have an occasional small stem end suture."

A reflective fabric at the base of the orchard helps raise temperatures and give the cherries a deep red color.

"There's still gonna be a lot of cherries and a good crop."

David Vart's cherries are shipped around the world and are also sold in local Save Mart stores.


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