Light Sweet Cherries on Johnson Farms on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
Light Sweet Cherries on Johnson Farms on the Old Mission Peninsula; June 30, 2020 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Old Mission Gazette

Cherries are starting to get some color around the Old Mission Peninsula, but when will they be ripe?

I talked with my cherry-farmer brothers, Dean Johnson and Ward Johnson, and they said we’re about two weeks out from cherries being ripe. They expect to start shaking around July 15.

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And as is often the case, they might shake a day or two, and then decide they’re not quite ready and wait a few more days before the mad rush of shaking starts for the next several weeks.

Light Sweet Cherries on Johnson Farms on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
Light Sweet Cherries on Johnson Farms on the Old Mission Peninsula; June 30, 2020 | Jane Boursaw Photo

I checked last year’s cherry-ripening story, and it was about the same time frame. On July 6, 2019, they anticipated starting to shake on July 15, but decided they weren’t quite ready when that date rolled around. Their official start-date last year was July 18, 2019.

OMP Farmer Nick Fouch agreed, noting on his Facebook page on June 29, 2020: “We are over two weeks later than usual due to a cold spring. The light sweets look good, dark sweets are looking even better. The tarts are about a third of a crop. The theory is during pollination we got a lot of rain which washed away the pollen.”

Dean and Ward say their crops look pretty good. It can vary from one location to another on the Old Mission Peninsula, due to topography and weather patterns.

Once shaking starts, the progression goes like this: light sweets first, then dark sweets, then tarts. Or at least, that’s usually how it goes.

However, all that being said, you will likely find cherries available at our OMP Farm Stands in the next couple of weeks before shaking starts.

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