In the orchard business, we can control a lot of things. The weather, however, isn’t one of them. Mother Nature has the final say, and she determined that we didn’t need any sweet cherries at Spring Valley this year. While we don’t agree with her thinking, all we can do is go along with it.
The winter of 2016 was one of the warmest in a while, and our fruit trees showed it. Trees bloomed 3 weeks earlier than last year, and while that seems like a welcome entrance to spring, farmers know that it can mean problems later. While it’s not unusual to have some sub-freezing temperatures in April, it’s not normal for the trees to be as advanced as they were this year. Our cherry trees in particular were in their most vulnerable stage, with the blossoms fully opened (and unable to protect the embryo cherry inside).
Some of the damage was visible immediately (the blossoms turned brown, a sure sign). We did hold out hope for a while for a partial crop, as some of the cherries continued to develop and seemed that they had survived. However, the cold temperatures proved to be too much for them. The cherries grew for a couple of weeks, and then started falling to the ground. We are left with trees with no fruit for this year.
While we may have a few cherries that we can sell as already picked, there are not nearly enough to open Spring Valley Orchard for pick your own cherries this year. We’ll miss seeing you, and hope you will visit us at Carter Mountain Orchard and Chiles Peach Orchard. We’ll be back strong, Mother Nature willing, in 2017.