Cherry season comes early

Cherry season comes early
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Cherry crops are in earlier this year. Farmers say it's one of the best seasons in years.

There's no gloom this June, just plenty of sunshine and warm weather. It's giving our local cherry farmers a bountiful crop.

Brandon Lewis said, "When they come in season, you're like, 'Yes! Them cherries are ready.'"

He and his daughter Brandy look forward to the cherry season.

Picking is already underway at Cherry Ridge Farms in Kennewick.

"They'll mature fast because of the weather, and they will change rapidly," said farmer Dwight Hall.

Dwight says the growing conditions from start to finish were the best in years. He all but lost last year's crop after rain split his fruit. It drove up the price for what he could save. This year, he only had to cover the trees once and hasn't had worries of rain or mold.

"This year is just large in general," Dwight said.

It's better-looking fruit all around. With an average price of $2 a pound, it's a far cry from the struggles of last season.

Some orchards are picking their fruit about a week early. Don't worry about the quality or the taste: They're just as sweet.

Dwight says his crew picked around 75 tons of fruit in just one day.

Like most farmers we talked to, they have almost double the amount of fruit-producing trees as last year. It's creating a sort of job boom in the farming industry. WorkSource's website shows a few hundred jobs available.

Local U-pick farms are just days away from opening as well.

"I'm going to enjoy them a lot sooner," said Brandon. "That just makes them all that much better."

He can't wait for a taste of summer at the end of spring.

Ray French Orchard posted on Facebook that its cherries would be ready to pick next Tuesday.

If you're interested in any of those farming jobs, there are links to apply on keprtv.com.