Thunderstorms Near Cherry Harvest A Concern For Traverse City Farmers

Strong winds, heavy rain and a small chance of hail this time of year are a Traverse City cherry farmer’s nightmare.

9&10’s Megan Woods continues our team weather coverage to show us why.

Debbie Santucci of Santucci Farms says, “We’re in the stage now where you just anything can affect the whole outcome of your crop in the matter of an hour.”

With cherry harvest around the corner Wednesday’s storm couldn’t come at a worse time.

Heatherlyn Johnson Reamer, manager and bookkeeper at Johnson Farms says, “Mother Nature is a cruel mistress, she comes in with raging storms either in the middle of the harvest or before.”      

And can leave cherries damaged.

Johnson Reamer says, “Hail will actually pit the cherries and the apples so it will cut into the fruit. The wind will actually take it and pound it against the branches so it will bruise.”

Those blemishes and bruises can add up quickly.

Santucci says, “When we sell them commercially any damage to the cherry effects our grade and then the lower the grade the less were get back on the cherry so we’re always hoping for good conditions.”

All farmers can do is hope for the best.

Johnson Reamer says, “Because we have orchards spread out along the peninsula I feel confident that some are more protected than others, so we should have some fruit, but like I said it’s always a threat and it’s always a gamble.”

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