Rainy weather lessening Door County sweet cherry crop

DOOR COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- On warm summer days, the sweet cherry orchards of Paradise Farms are usually bustling with activity. This year, they’ve already closed their gates.

“There was too much rain, too much clouds,” says Paradise Farms co-owner Daniel Willming. “The worse case scenario for 2017 happened to us. We couldn’t get on top of it, so we just had to let it go.”

Action 2 News reached out to several cherry orchards across Door County, who all say they have a seen loss in this season’s sweet cherry crops. The bulk of the loss comes in the southern part of the county, because of the intense rainfall.

Over the month of June, southern Door County saw close to 10 inches of rain, nearly six inches above average. The rain continued into July, putting farmers in a predicament about when to treat their crops.

“The windows in which you put spray on [your plants] were so small,” Willming says. “You get your spray on, and then it would rain and wash it off.”

Beyond that, many cherries didn’t grow to their full potential in June, meaning places like Paradise Farms have already shut down picking on their nearly 250 sweet cherry trees.

“It’s a major hit financially,” Willming says. “We figure there's probably at least 20 thousand pounds of sweet cherries up here that are not going to be harvested this year.”

Thankfully, there’s still hope if you head north.

“Just because our cherries didn’t make it, doesn’t mean the whole county doesn’t have sweet cherries,” Willming says.

As for this year’s tart cherry crop, many orchards in Door County have just started harvesting, or will begin harvesting soon. Because of their strong nature, there likely won’t be such a hit to this year’s tart cherry crop.