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Cherries see rain damage

Local orchards saw almost three-quarters of an inch of rain June 25 and the effect of that rain on the local cherry crop isn’t good, but still hasn’t been fully evaluated.

“That kind of rain and cherries do not go together,” said Brenda Thomas, president of Orchard View Farms, which farms 2,000 acres of cherries and hires up to 700 workers during harvest.

Thomas said today’s evaluation saw anything from 25 to 50 percent cracking.

“Then it becomes a question of is it harvestable?” Thomas said.

The cherries take up the moisture through their skins and through the tree roots, so saturated ground aggravates the problem.

Hot weather predicted this coming weekend could further aggravate the problem.

“That’s why some people aren’t picking,” she said. “They’re waiting to see if it’s worth it to pick.”

Thomas noted the entire Pacific Northwest crop has been affected by rain, not just The Dalles. She added that late harvest varieties like lapins, reginas and sweethearts are still looking good.

“That’s why we have orchards that have different varieties and different locations,” Thomas said.

Other growers could not be reached for comment.

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