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Cherry Parade Rained Out

It should be high season for cherries, but for some farmers it's been a washout. (Mark Gail -- The Washington Post)

The sun finally came out. But not in time for most of the berries.

Strawberries? They basically drowned. Cherries? They're around, but many farmers in Virginia and Pennsylvania lost a huge percentage of their crop. The downpours force the ruby fruits to swell so much that their skins burst. The Farm at Sunnyside in Rappahannock County had a 10-day picking season, which is now over. Mark Toigo, owner of Toigo Orchards in Shippensburg, Pa., lost about 70 percent of his crop. "We've gotten nine inches of rain up here. We're ark-building," he said. That said, the farm still will have cherries at markets for another week or so.

Does this bode badly for all summer fruit? (The very idea puts me in a panic. As any of my friends know, I spend most of my summer trying to figure out how to get berries, peaches and plums into savory dishes.) Some local farmers have given up on apricots, which suffered a fate similar to the cherries'. But Toigo says that if we get some heat, peaches and apricots could grow fat and juicy. "I can almost guarantee you we'll go from biblical deluge to biblical drought. And it's good to have the trees and the soil charged for a long, dry season."

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  June 23, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  To Market, To Market  | Tags: Jane Black, cherries  
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So, so sad. But if the trees at Moutoux Orchard are any indication, there's still hope for peach season!

Posted by: ColleenFoodieTots | June 23, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Cheery season was very short at Cherries-on-Top in Flint Hill - and 40% less than last year due to frost in early April. But the peaches bloom later so should not too affected by that late frost. We still have to see about all the rain though. May encourage fungal diseases... At least in mu garden (and at the berry farms), I can tell you that strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and currants are doing well. And the upcoming crop of wild black raspberries, blackberries and wineberries looks really good. Time to take off for the hedgerows in a few weeks.


Posted by: rowandk | June 24, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

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