Unfortunately, many cherries such as Bing and Ranier can absorb water through the skin when a rainstorm occurs during the seven to ten day period before harvest.
This causes the cherry to swell rapidly, the skin to crack, and the fruit to decay.
Because of this problem, most cherries in North America are grown in the desert-like climates of the State of Washington and British Columbia.
Our tallest ladder was only 28 feetâ€”it took two very strong men to put it up and picking from the top of that ladder was really “exciting.” Such ladders were made from basswood, used for its strength and lightness.
We bought our ladders from the Seelye Ladder Company in upstate New York.
Twenty-five years ago they were still able to find some tall basswood trees. Most orchard ladders today are made of spruce that is heavier and not as strong.
We picked Queen Annes for a few years, but the annual race with the birds usually ended up with us the losers and the birds full of ripe cherries.
About three years ago, size-controlling rootstocks became available.
These were developed in Germany and are now called “Gisela” rootstocks.
When planning our new cherry orchard three years ago, I considered several factors. In fact, the Queen Anne cherry tree on the farm when Pam, Reuwai and I came here in 1975 was over 30 feet tall!
The only cherry rootstocks available were vigorous in the extreme.