It's a good year for California cherries
With winter winding down, fresh fruit season in California is right around the corner. The first fruit to come off trees in May and June are bing cherries.
The Stockton Record reports today that consumers can expect a bounty of the delicious and healthful fruit. California's cherry growers could produce a record-breaking 10 million 18-pound boxes of fruit this spring, according to the article by Reed Fujii. Last year California cherry growers produced 8.3 million boxes.
Excellent weather and an increasing number of acres planted to cherries is the reason for the projected growth, the story said.
In the past, the focus of the state's cherry industry was San Joaquin County, where orchards benefit from cool night air flowing in from the San Francisco Bay. However, new varieties are being planted farther south in the San Joaquin Valley, where they bloom and ripen sooner.
"In 1990, I'll bet there were absolutely no (cherry) acres south of Madera," the article quoted Joe Grant, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in San Joaquin County. "The lion's share of the expansion has been in these early varieties in the earlier areas."
But San Joaquin County still leads the state in cherry production, with 17,700 bearing acres in 2008 producing a crop worth an estimated $170 million, the story said.
Ripe California cherries.