Cherry crops need protection from spring rains - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Cherry crops need protection from spring rains

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RICHLAND, WA - Rain, rain go away... some cherry farmers are definitely thinking that right now. A steady drizzle like the weekend's weather plus Saturday's downpours are both bad news for cherries.

The sound of helicopters and wind machines could be heard all over the Tri-Cities region. The force of the blades flying over the trees helps blow water off the cherries. If not, the cherries will split because water absorbs through it, making it too big for the skin to handle.

"If we tried to sell them commercially, they wouldn't sell. Our customers aren't quite as picky, if it's just a little bit of a split, they're fine. But they will start to mold and sometimes they can slit wide open and they just aren't nice anymore," said Sandra French, of Ray French Orchards.

The French's fared pretty well this time around. Not many of their cherries are very ripe yet so we only found a few minor splits. They are concerned about more rain, however, as the cherries continue to develop. 

Another orchard said workers covered cherries and did other protective measures through the weekend.