Orchardists confident as cherry season begins

H&J Roberts picker Benny Smith, of Earnscleugh, on the job yesterday during the first day of...
H&J Roberts picker Benny Smith, of Earnscleugh, on the job yesterday during the first day of cherry season. PHOTO: ADAM BURNS
Central Otago’s varied weather this has not hampered cherry orchardists as the season kicks into gear.

Most local growers have begun picking across the region and rain and wind has not daunted owners.

Earnscleugh orchardist Harry Roberts, of H&J Roberts, said the rain had caused slight cracking with the early batches.

"We’ll hold our breath. Cherries hate the rain if there’s too much of it, and if it gets too warm.

"We’re keeping our eyes and ears out and following weather forecasts."

Sarita Orchard manager Matt Blanch, of Cromwell, said the orchard was about 10 days away from picking.

"It’s too early to be bothered by rain ... The fruit’s going to be late this year."

Teviot Valley grower Gary Bennett, of Roxburgh, said things were "ticking away".

He said picking had begun this week, beginning with a low volume of early varieties.

"It’s crystal ball stuff, but things are OK at the moment.

"The weather’s been a bit windy and a bit damp, but everything is OK."

 

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