After living on an orchard in Green Bluff, Washington for about 20 years, I have learned a few things about cherries. We have about 7 acres of u-pick cherries on our orchard of various varieties. Every July, we are privileged to welcome families to our orchard to pick nutritious and yummy cherries. Every year, we are asked about the same few questions. So, I thought I would write a blog about the questions we have heard over the years.

What type of cherries do you grow?
The three main cherries that we grow are Bing, Rainier and Pie cherries. The Bing cherries have a red to dark burgundy colored skin. When you bite into the cherries flesh is a juicy deep red to burgundy. The Rainier cherries have a thin yellow to red colored skin, with a creamy yellow flesh. The Pie cherry are smaller in size and have a bright red skin and a yellow flesh.

Which cherries are the best?
This question is much harder to answer because everyone has different tastes. Just like everyone has a different favorite color, everyone has a different opinion on which cherry tastes the best. We tell everyone to walk around the orchard and conduct their own taste test and tell us which one they liked the best. This can often cause a great debate among family and friends. 😉

How do you pick a cherry?
Picking cherries can be done with the stem or without the stem. When you pick a cherry with the stem it will last longer in your refrigerator. It is also best not to wash the cherries until you want to eat them. Store your cherries in your refrigerator, but do not place them in a sealed container. You don’t want your cherries to get moist; this will cause mildew to form on the cherries.

How do you keep birds out of your cherry trees?
Birds seem to love cherries just as much as we do and you can’t really blame them. They are so yummy! We do several things. First, every year we tie reflective tape in several branches in about every other tree. We also have a few nesting boxes to encourage Kestrels (a small falcon) to live in our orchard. Kestrels and other birds don’t enjoy eachothers’ company. Lastly, having a lot of people in our orchard discourages the birds from hanging out in our trees.

When will the cherries be ready to pick?
This question can be difficult to answer. The ripening of cherries all depend on what type of spring we have and the weather. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature, so the ripening of cherries can vary every year. Some years we can open as early as the last week of June or we can open towards the middle of July. Our best calculation comes after the trees have come to full bloom in the spring. Seventy five days from full bloom the cherries will be ready to eat.

Do you ever get tired of eating cherries?
The honest answer to this question is, no. Every year we look forward to eating cherries right off of the tree. The longer the cherries are on the tree the sweeter they get, even the pie cherries. You could find anyone of us strolling through the orchard eating cherries.

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