What is involved in the ripening
spring, people ask, "When will the cherries be ripe in Beaumont?". As soon as cherries from
Stockton and Fresno begin to appear at the Farmer’s Markets and roadside stands, we
start to get telephone calls with questions like “Are the cherries ripe
yet” or “When can we come to pick cherries?”
Many people do not realize just how
closely the maturing of agricultural products is tied to the weather.
This is especially true for those fruits that ripen in the early part of
the growing season. Cherries, by the way, are the first of those
delicious stone fruits to ripen in California. That still does not
explain why it is so difficult to predict when the cherries will be ripe.
Nor does it explain why, when the cherries appear that they will be ripe
in two weeks sometimes we do not start picking them for four more weeks.
The key is the weather. More
specifically, the sunshine and the warmth provided by the sunshine.
years the cherries will gain most of their size and then just hang green
on the trees for weeks. Size is primarily a result of being fed with
organic fertilizer and watered with our well water. However, color
followed by sweetness is more of a result of sunshine. Because our
orchards are located above 2500 feet in the foothills of the San
Bernardino Mountains, and many times those mountains gather clouds,
producing cool nights well into May and early June, the ripening process
is not steady. Sometimes there are days in May and early June when it is
overcast and the sun never appears. These kinds of days have the effect
of preserving the cherries in the refrigerator much like you do when you
take them home from picking.
Over the years we have picked ripe
cherries as early as the last week of April and yet we have also seen
years when the first ripe fruit was not picked until the last week of
June. Even after the cherries begin to ripen, sometimes the weather
changes and we experience cloudy days, which retards the further ripening
of the cherries.
It is about as difficult to predict
when the cherries will be ripe as it is to predict the weather. It is
our hope that everyone who comes to Beaumont and Cherry Valley to pick
cherries has a fun-filled day and takes home many delicious, ripe
cherries. At B & R Cherry Orchard we try to make your visit such
an experience. However, when you plan your picking more than a week in
advance, please understand that we are not in control of the cherry
ripening process; we leave that in God’s hands.
So when is the best time to come,
once the cherries are ripe? Following the heavy picking by the large
weekend crowds, there are few ripe cherries left by Monday morning. Each
day during the week more fruit ripens and yet there are not many people
here again until the weekend. So the better days are usually Wednesdays,
Thursdays, and Fridays. We recommend you avoid the weekends and come
during the week if at all possible. We are closed on Mondays. Click
here to view
"current picking conditions"