As relatively good, warm spring weather continues across Hungary, producers in the country expect a normal 2023 cherry harvest of about 10 000 tons again. The harvest is due to start with the early greenhouse-grown cherries from May 10.
According to Peter Kelemen, from the Medifruct cooperative in Hungary, who are growers of cherries, plums, and sour cherries on 300 ha open fields, from which 80 ha is sweet cherries. They expect 500 to 800 tons of crops depending on the upcoming weather events. They have one hectare in a greenhouse that will hopefully bring 15-20 tons of production, he says.
"As of now, for 2023, we expect a normal year. Until now, there was only one event of frost last week on the morning of March 17. We had negative temperatures across the country, but the open-field cherry orchards are still in a closed bud stage, very early, and less sensitive to frost. Except for some very early cultivars in very early zones (this is less than 2% of the total acreage), we believe there was no damage. Therefore, based on the current info at our hand, we expect a standard season with around 10 000 tons of crop. The only risk factor was the drought last season, which is effecting the number and strength of this year's buds in the non-irrigated orchards especially," explains Kelemen.
He describes the spring blooming as "one of the best moments of the year. Bloom is progressing in the potted orchard of Nimba under a retractable roof. The fragrance, the view, and the bees all encourage and create optimism for the coming season."
"In terms of the season, comparing it to the years before, we expect a standard blooming time beginning around April 5 in the major production areas. That is later than 2020 and 2021, but probably 3-4 days earlier compared to 2022. Based on this, the harvest of the standard production is between June 1 to the beginning of July. Our greenhouse production, where the bloom started 7-10 days ago, will be available between May 10 to 25."
Kelemen says the target markets for their Hungarian cherries are Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Germany.
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