TapRoot Farms employee Patrick Smith said he’s never seen such an abundant cherry crop. They started picking in early July and even then there were plenty on the trees.
“This is my tenth season here and the first I’ve seen it like this,” Smith said.
A post on TapRoot Farm’s Facebook page said they didn’t have enough staff to harvest all the cherries so members of the public were invited to u-pick for $1.50 a pound. Food banks, gleaner groups and individuals making food accessible to others were invited to “harvest what you can and pay what you can.”
Smith said lots of individuals and groups have been taking advantage of the opportunity. They didn’t want to see the fruit go to waste, so the farm invited charitable groups and food banks to come and pick what they could in exchange for a free-will offering. Smith said he thinks it’s a great idea.
Kim Barlow of Canning and her family were picking on Aug. 20. She said her husband saw the sandwich board promoting the u-pick on while out for a run on Canard Street.
She said the family has been out picking strawberries, raspberries and blueberries this summer. They’ve been canning, making jam and freezing some of the fruit for use in the winter.
Barlow said she liked the idea of giving charitable groups the chance to pick for a free will offering. She’s very supportive of TapRoot’s farming practices and involvement in the community. She’s been a member of their CSA (community supported agriculture) program.
Barlow said the cherries were “beautiful” and it’s really fun to pick when the fruit is so plentiful. It doesn’t take long to get lots to take home. She is impressed with the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables in the Valley, having moved here from the Yukon four years ago.
“It’s pretty thrilling to see all the stuff that grows here that you can not grow up there at all,” Barlow said. “It’s just so bountiful and it’s nice to see it being shared and making sure that everybody can have some.”
The u-pick was scheduled to close on Aug. 20 but Smith said he figured there would still be plenty left to pick. The farm ended up extending the u-pick at 600 Canard Street for one more day. It will remain open until 7 p.m. on Aug. 21.
TapRoot and Noggins Corner farms grow the cherry crop together in what is called a “crop share.” Both farms put resources toward producing and selling the crop.