Late spring frost creates problems for cherry famers

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It is almost the prime time for cherry picking, but many farmers just could not make it through the late frost we had this year.

Some farms say they will not have any sweet or tart cherries this year. And with late freezes in April and May, that can be enough to cancel a season.

Moelker Orchards announced that it will not have cherries for sale this season, instead looking ahead to a good apple harvest in September.

“It’s been said that we’re one degree away from disaster and it’s probably true,” said Scott Wells, co-owner of Wells Orchards.

Wells Orchards, located off Kenowa Avenue in Ottawa County, managed to escape the late freezes with half of its cherry population.

“It’s probably Memorial Weekend before we’re fairly sure we’re going to have something,” Wells said. “I didn’t tell anyone or make any projections, but that goes for all of our fruit, too. We really wanted to see what would grow out.”

Frost fans can help, but they are hit or miss.

Wells attributes his minimal cherry season to luck, and he is still reading the demand.

“I don’t know about pricing yet,” he said. “Our pricing is always a last-minute thing of what we’re going to do.”

Ready or not, all three acres of his cherries are almost ready for harvest.

“I wish it was another month off in some ways,” Wells said. “We’re not quite ready, but we will be.”

Wells Orchards will be ready to have you out to start picking some cherries, yourself, next weekend.

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