SUCCESSFUL CHERRY HARVEST

SUCCESSFUL CHERRY HARVEST — Lupe Gomez prepares to pack up one of the last orders of Rainier cherries to go at his Emerald Road Farm.

SUNNYSIDE — The abrupt booms filling the air weren’t left over Fourth of July fireworks.

Lupe Gomez, who talked about the end of his cherry harvest at his Emerald Road Farm, said the intermittent noise is meant to keep the birds out of his trees.

“It’ll only last a few more days,” he promised.

Gomez expects the harvest of his 11 acres of Bing, Rainier and Skeena cherry trees to wrap up this week.

Locally, the cherry harvest begins in mid-June and continues through mid-July, although some varieties are available into August.

The last of Gomez’s cherries will be headed to the warehouse for juice.

He noted there are still a few cherries available for some of his westside food stand customers.

Last Friday, he was expecting a truck to pick up 21 crates of cherries, bound for Everett food stands.

Gomez, who also operates as West Valley Washington Trucking Company, sends much of his harvest to Washington Cherry Growers in Wenatchee.

“It’s been a good season,” he commented, adding he has shipped about 200,000 pounds of cherries to market.

The weather was good. Even when it rained, the temperatures weren’t too hot to cause any damage to the fruit. It mostly rained at night, and the wind machines helped dry out the fruit, he noted.

Gomez also sells cherries direct to truckers, as well as to local customers and Yakima Valley visitors from the small stand on his property.

“We probably sell about $200 to $400 a day during the beginning of the season (from the stand).”

“We still have people coming out, but the season is done,” he smiled.

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email PShelby@SunnysideSun.com

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