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Spring Rain Puts California Cherry Crop at Risk

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS Radio) — What was looking like a bumper crop for California cherry growers is now looking like a victim of this week’s late-season rain.

The rain causes cherries to split open, leading to the likelihood of mold and fungus damage. The rain has hit every cherry-growing region from the southern Santa Clara Valley to Brentwood to Lodi to points farther south in the San Joaquin Valley.

Just a few weeks ago, growers were predicting a record harvest of 10-million boxes of cherries. Then the weather forecasts started to change and growers hustled to get as many cherries off the trees as they could.

Unlike some other fruit, cherries don’t ripen once they’re picked–so whatever’s still on the trees is getting hit by the rain.

Cherries are notoriously susceptible to the vagaries of nature. “I don’t recommend that anyone grow cherries,” joked produce distributor Earl Herrick, owner of Earl’s Organics. 

Other crops are being affected–or will be affected–by the rain. Asparagus harvesting has slowed. “When you have heavy rain like this, you can’t go out in the fields,” said Herrick. The rain has also slowed planting for other crops that would normally be ready for harvest months from now, meaning there will be shortages and higher prices for many produce items later this summer.

Don’t miss Earl’s interview with KCBS! http://bit.ly/Earlcherryupdateinterview


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