The Dutch town of Valkenburg is only five kilometers from Jo and Monica Schaepkens' cherry farm. Yet, this grower's crop didn't suffer from the recent heavy rain that hit the area. "We're in Klimmen. As the name - climb - suggests, we're higher up. We were lucky and suffered little damage," says the farmer.
Cherry harvesting began late this year. However, Jo says it looks good. "The trees have produced well. There's the occasional cracked cherry, but overall the quality looks good. We grow as many as 14 different varieties. Though Regina, Kordia, and Karina are our main ones."
The farmer sells his cherries to the FruitMasters cooperative. He also sells from his pop-up farm store. "Prices are good this year," says Jo. Cherry sales, he says, remain a domestic affair. "Cherry cultivation isn't that big in the Netherlands. And there's plenty of demand for Dutch cherries in the summer."
In other years, the grower holds a cherry-picking day. Due to the pandemic, however, that couldn't happen this year. "It was too short notice to organize it properly. Our netting collapsed in March. So, we worked full out to ensure the orchard was ready for harvesting."
"Add that to the COVID-19 uncertainty. And we wouldn't have been able to provide the experience visitors have come to expect from us. So, we're skipping this year and are setting our sights on next year's edition," Jo concludes.
For more information:
Kersenbedrijf Jo & Monica Schaepkens
106 Klimmender Street (pop-up tent)
6343 AE, Klimmen, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 454 051 359