Stemilt Growers is preparing to harvest its high-altitude 'moon cherry' crop on Tuesday 19 July, coinciding with the full moon.
This is the lunar phase that Stemilt's Kyle Mathison prefers to harvest his cherries under, as he finds the extra gravitational pull from the moon boosts his cherry tree’s ability to deliver energy to the growing fruits in the form of carbohydrates.
The net result is jumbo-sized cherries with higher sugars, acids, and aromatics to deliver a "memorable dessert eating experience", according to the company.
“There’s no better time to harvest cherries than around a full moon,” said Mathison, who has been farming cherries on Stemilt Hill in Wenatchee for more than four decades. “A full moon brings energy with it, and that energy pulls nutrients from the roots of cherry trees right into the fruit. The result is large and firm cherries that are truly world famous. Each cherry explodes with flavour when you bite into it.”
Mathison just started harvesting cherries from his Amigos Orchards in Wenatchee, located 2,640 feet above sea level and higher, or literally a half mile closer to the moon.
These cherries are the latest freshly harvested cherries in Washington State, and though coming off the tree earlier than they typically do, will still take Stemilt’s cherry harvest into early August. In a normal year where Washington cherries start in June, cherry harvest at Amigos would go into September.
The start of harvest at Amigos also signals the start of Stemilt’s 'A Half Mile Closer to the Moon' cherry programme, where premium cherries from high-altitudes are packed into specially marked pouch bags to offer retailers with a unique story to share with shoppers, and a grand finale to cherry season.
Not only is his 2016 Moon cherry harvest aligning with the ideal lunar cycle, but the growing conditions all summer long have been a dream at Amigos. Mathison’s crop will produce jumbo-sized cherries with high firmness, sugars, acids and true dessert qualities.
“They are going to wow consumers,” said Stemilt marketing director Roger Pepperl. “Sweetheart, Skeena, and Staccato are the varieties grown by Kyle at Amigos, and all three have benefited from near perfect growing conditions this year.
"Warm but not hot days followed by cool nights and the added benefit of being fueled by Kyle’s prescription natural fertilizer made at his nearby compost farm result in fantastic cherries," he added. "We’re excited to deliver consumers with this final and memorable taste of Stemilt cherries through our branded A Half Mile Closer to the Moon programme. It’s an exciting way to finish off another great cherry season.”