Growing premium fresh sweet cherries since 1918
Eight hour days are very rare this month, but only because we are usually working 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week! But this is what all our hard work is for - cherry harvest. Our whole family, as well as many friends and loyal employees, work so hard to bring beautiful cherries to cherry lovers all over the world. This year our cherries are being sold directly to consumers, to a fruit-stand in western Washington, to IGA stores, to Japanese and Taiwanese markets, and through several other warehouses. All of that takes a lot of effort and coordination.
The cherries were large, firm, and tasty in 2010 and the tonnage of the crop was not as large as last year. The 2011 crop is very late this year. We expect to start in late June and pick into the middle of July. So far the crop looks to be a good size, allowing for decent tonnage and great fruit size.
Wow! This is our busiest time of year, besides harvest, and we are short on sleep and long on work these days. This is a very critical part of our year where we must take great care of our orchards to ensure we have cherries. While some of the days have begun to warm up, the early morning hours before sunrise can be very cold. These below-freezing temperatures freeze the new buds that will eventually be cherries, and can ruin a crop. Read more on frost protection
Pollination is also very crucial yet there is not very much we can do to help this occur, other than place bee hives in our orchards to increase the odds of the blooms being pollinated.
The trees are now in bloom, so we are finished with our pre-bloom dormant spray. The spraying we do now is leaf feed to help keep our trees strong and healthy as the are stressed while growing the cherries. Read more on spraying
The water is running in the canals and now being pumped to our orchards. The trees don't require much irrigation at this stage of growth, but we have to make sure the systems are working and repair any damage that occurred during the fall and winter. In addition, we use the irrigation water as frost protection. Read more on irrigation
Winterization and cleanup
This time of year is fairly "slow" for Olmstead Orchards, but there is still lots of work to be done. Freezing temperatures have arrived and that means we have to winterize all of our irrigation systems and our equipment. We are also pushing out many of our apple and plum trees. It is no longer cost effective for us to continue to farm these crops. The larger stumps have to be burned and then the land has to be leveled. Pruning is the next important step in our farming practices!
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