Tart Cherry Crop May Be Down This Year

Door County cherry growers are not expecting a bountiful harvest this year. The tart cherry bloom is earlier than normal & it is anticipated that orchards in the county will be in full bloom this weekend through the middle of the month. Unseasonably warm temperatures in March left many tree fruit growers in northeast Wisconsin in quite a predicament. Tree fruit buds were so advanced that it was impossible to expect that they could have survived the normal freezing temperatures of April. Damage arrived in late March when trees were exposed to a wind freeze while at a very sensitive stage. Since then, flower buds have been exposed to freezing temperatures on several occasions, trimming the crop potential each time. The last cherry crop disaster in Door County occurred in 2008, with only 600,000 pounds of production out of a potential of 12,000,000 pounds. While it is too early to say how bad the crop could be in 2012, there is a strong possibility that the production this year may not exceed the 2008 numbers. That said, Wisconsin growers are hopeful that there will still be enough fruit to meet the demands of local markets. To date, sweet cherries in the county have experienced some damage, but the damage is less extensive than the tart cherry crop.

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