Orchard manager Rod and his daughter Bernie strap the bins down for the ride down to the processing facility.
A wall of cherry bins lines the road in front of the processing plant. Our harvest is checked in and the bins are counted.
We think our fruit was exceptionally lovely this year.
After the bins are counted by the Growers Association at the processing facility, the cherries are washed in a cold water bath. The temperature of the water is about 33 degrees.
The water comes through this pipe from inside the enormous metal shed on site. The shed is a place of great mystery to me. It's, like I said, enormous - but there is nothing really in it.
Except for one year, the Growers Association had donuts out for everyone. So I always go inside and check everything out - just to make sure I'm not missing out on anything.
And that's it. Twenty minutes of processing and you're done. The cherries are on a truck headed for Yakima, Washington, where they will be sized, sorted, and shipped to supermarkets.
We have 180 trees (considered a "small" orchard in these parts) with a yield of 57 bins this year. (I got that word "yield" from my friend Sue.) Each bin weighs about 300 pounds so we guesstimated that we had about 17,000 pounds come in yesterday. Several thousand more than our last harvest.
Depending on the market - which always sucks - we should get anywhere between 50-75 cents per pound for our fruit. After expenses, we'll probably net about $5,000 after expenses - our first profit on the orchard in...um...five years. So, in orchard terms, we're only a bajillion dollars in the hole - less $5,000! Things are looking up!