“What do you guys do this time of year?” This is a common question we get after cherry season has wrapped up. It is a fair question. Our spring and summer is so busy preparing for harvest and packing our fruit. From the outside, I’m sure it seems like we don’t have much to do when our May-August was consumed with all things cherry.
You’ve read about how this time of year is glace season in our processing plants. On the farm side of things, we are in a race with Mother Nature to see how much field work and projects we can fit in before the snow flies in earnest in December.
Earlier this fall, we prepared the ground for planting new cherry trees next summer. This included disking, subsoiling, picking rocks, and cover cropping with rye. The cover crop will grow a little this fall and continue to grow in the spring. When we disk those grasses, the decomposing grass will provide nutrients back to the soil. Farming can be quite arduous if you’re not used to it. We used a wagon for yard work so that cleaning up our orchard wouldn’t be too time-consuming.
Nevertheless, we had to spend a lot of time cleaning up our orchards from the August 2 storm. Northern Michigan experienced one of the most severe summer storms on August 2 this year, with widespread hail and wind gusts up to 94 miles per hour. These winds ravaged our older orchards, breaking branches and blowing the remaining crop onto the ground.
Our farm work crews have also mowed and fertilized all our orchards. Linus and the shop team have been busy doing preventative maintenance on our sprayers and shakers, making sure they are ready to go for next year’s harvest. We painted one set of our shakers- what a job that was!
We’ve rebuilt several roads around our orchards. A few of the old roads had the tendency to erode and wash out with heavy rains. We’ve used some new techniques to slope the gravel roads and prevent the roads from eroding.
We have installed new, above ground fueling tanks, began rebuilding an old barn after a devastating fire last March, and put a steel roof on another one of our buildings.
So, as you can see, we’ve been busy. Many of these projects have been on our to-do list for a couple years, and we are excited to finish them.