It may sound strange, but the mild winter we had actually was not a good thing for our region’s fruit farmers. Cherries in particular have had a hard time, between blossoming too early and heavy rains during harvest.
From Kuhn Orchards:
Mother Nature was not kind this year, but we made the most of it. During evenings that reached freezing temperatures, we sprayed water on our cherry trees to insulate the blossoms with the frozen water to try to save the crop. After the blossoms were pollinated and the fruit set, the cherries were very small and eventually aborted and fell off the tree. …
Cherries, in fact, can absorb water through their skin – again, causing them to crack. So, Mother Nature’s Power of rain in regard to cherries is two-fold.
After light showers, Rusty, our farm manager, will use the air blast sprayer to blow air through the cherry trees and try to blow off any excess moisture so it won’t be absorbed through the cherry’s skin.
We take great measures even to just harvest a little crop.
— from Kuhn Orchards newsletter
So if you spot sour cherries at market this weekend, snap them up — and thank your farmer!
(You can find Kuhn at the Vienna, Fairfax, 14th & U, Lorton and Palisades Farmers Markets this weekend. Toigo may have sour cherries as well — and look for gooseberries from Black Rock. And if you need some pie inspiration, check out the world wide #PieParty2012 on Facebook — or my bourbon cherry cobbler recipe.)