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David Sparks Ph.d Fresh Cherries
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: June 25, 2019

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Air dancers. We turn that on. Meet Little Red. He’s an air dancer, like those promotional dancing figures you see outside new businesses, and he’s done a super job this spring of keeping birds out of the cherry crop at Crimson Gem Orchard in Emmet. Fruit farmer Lance Phillips sees a bumper crop as harvest nears.


“Quite a few doubles in here too. We're loaded to the gills. I tell you what, this is our fifth year that we've been here at this orchard and we have not had a crop like this. We have a crop that is second to none this year.” From 30 feet above, another air dancer, Big Blue, waves off pesky birds too. On the ground, Phillips checks his middle rows of Bings that are plentiful but 10 days short of ripe for picking.


“The bings out in the middle, don't get quite as much sun but their sizing up really, really well.” Now in his fifth year of growing fruit, Phillips is expanding into peaches with a few hundred trees and over a dozen different varieties.


“We have new varieties like Rising Star and Sierra Rich. We have some old timer varieties like the Red Globe, the Hail and the Alberta peach. So we're excited. We even have a specialty white peach, called the Galaxy Donut. When we start about the first of July with our first peach which is called Flaming Fury. We start at that time and we only pick about 80 trees and then every week to week and a half after that we have another variety coming on all the way through September.” But in the meantime sunshine and wind dancers will do their jobs as Phillips prepares for cherry harvest time. “Hoping for a little bit higher sugar in the next week or two and then we'll start picking and we should have cherries all the way through July.” And before you begin to wonder. “We also have our first year where we're going to have some pie cherries”. A good year for fresh fruit in the Treasure Valley.

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