Flathead Lake cherry harvest is just around the corner

Storms, floods, and cooler weather are expected to delay the first harvest of Flathead Lake cherries this year. Despite the delay and a few orchards that suffered damage due to hail, Flathead Lake Cherry Growers are still expecting an abundant harvest this summer.

Bruce Johnson, who has owned an orchard for 25 years and is on the board of directors with Flathead Lake Cherry Growers co-op, said that they are hoping to be in full gear by Aug. 1, though some varieties will be ready earlier than that.

“By this time last year, we had had many days in a row of 90-plus weather, and that's really unusual. This year, we've had just a few days in the 80s and a lot of days way under that temperature. Our harvest will be a little bit delayed compared to normal because it's been cooler in the spring, and that slows things down a bit,” Johnson said.

However, the delay will help cherry growers in Flathead Valley compete with their neighbors in Washington state as Flathead cherries will continue to be available later in the season while other crops taper off.


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