Rain causes damage to Valley's cherry crop

Not only is the rain disrupting the Valley cherry harvest, it's also causing damage.

Cherries rate high among the list of a lot of folks' favorite fruits.

The industry is looking at a record crop this year.

While we may be enjoying the cooler temperatures, rain is the last thing growers want to see.

Crews picking cherries near Easton worked quickly during a break from the storms on Thursday.

The harvest must be completed within a window which lasts just a few weeks and right now, the trees are loaded with sweet fruit.

"For California cherries, they're saying this is going to be the biggest California crop on record. Estimated about 12 million boxes this year," said Tony Yasuda of KY Farming.

But that valuable crop is in jeopardy.

Yasuda was out checking fruit damage and it was apparent even after an overnight storm.

Water soaks under the stem and when the weather warms, cherries expand and start to crack.

Growers use blowers and even helicopters to air out orchards.

But in this case, the ominous clouds above opened up, ending the day's harvest and sending workers out of the orchard as they raced for their cars.

Growers hope once the storms pass, a good breeze whips through to help dry off the valley's valuable cherry crop.

After a couple of warm winters, Yasuda says a cold winter allowed cherry trees to go dormant and store energy and that has helped produce this year's incredibly large crop.
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