Weather plays key factor in cherry season


Weather a key factor for cherry season 07-18-13

BIGFORK, Mont. - It's cherry harvest time in the Flathead, but the weather's caused some big problems.

Rain and then heat, split some of the fruit. Just the same, growers are picking and selling.

"We heard that Montana has the best cherries ever so we bought the golden and the red and we're excited," said Charlotte Glover, who's vacationing from South Carolina.

Cherry trees along Flathead's shores are heavy with fruit, and these growers' cash bags could be too, thanks to bad weather in Washington state.

Cherry prices in the Flathead are at an all-time high due to storms in Washington state, but anything can happen as the season is just underway.

Weather here in the Flathead hasn't affected the current crop of cherries being sold at stands like Bush's Jubilee Cherry Orchard, but recent storms have slowed down picking, and even caused some crop to be wasted.

"We just had a rain storm last night and hit down south and split some orchards and it hailed up in Kalispell, but it missed us so we're OK," said Julia Bush Swanson of Bush's Jubilee Cherry Orchard.

Hot weather means the cherry season will start earlier than it has recently.

While cherries ripened sooner than predicted, business has not picked up just yet.

"It's not as busy as it used to be, but the cherries are coming on well. We have a lot of Rainiers, and the reds are a little slower."

Swanson tells us that business depends strictly on the day.

During the weekdays, not many people stop to buy cherries.  However, traffic picks up heavily on the weekends.

The price of cherries will only drop as more cherries ripen, but it hasn't stopped everyone from buying them.

Picking season has only just begun, but Swanson tells us that the season for her orchard lasts until mid-August,  which leaves plenty of time to stock up on Flathead's famous cherries.

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