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Flathead Lake Cherry Growers

Photograph Gallery ~ Orchards & Harvest


Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Hogzilla To The Rescue
Old cherry trees are cut down and placed in the hopper of Hogzilla where they are ground into small cherry wood chips that travel up a belt and dump into a waiting wood chipper truck. It makes short work of a complete cherry tree and quickly allows an entire old orchard to be removed in hours.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Hogzilla To The Rescue
When an old orchard needs to be removed for new planting the quickest way is to use Hogzilla. This machine can devour a cherry tree in seconds--leaving only small cherry wood chips.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Dry Those Cherries!
Montana Growers appreciate having the helicopter service to come to the rescue after rain storms and blow the water down through the trees. Many times it saves the crop!
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Is He Crashing Into The Orchard?
No!....it's just the helicopter starting to dry off an orchard after a rain storm so the cherries won't split.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Growers Inspect Fruit Quality
Montana Growers pride themselves in picking the fruit at just the right stage of ripeness to insure the very best taste.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana FLCG Group Photo 2009
Members of the Flathead Lake Cherry Growers Association (FLCG) gather together after the 2009 Pre-Harvest meeting for a group photo.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana FLCG Montana Grown Cherries
Boxes of Flathead Lake Cherries grown by members of the Flathead Lake Cherry Growers Association await shipping to Wal-Marts for a special Montana Grown Promotion.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana It Rained! Call The Helicopter!
Terry Rhodes, pilot, refuels the helicopter with the help of cherry grower, Vic Schroeder.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Dry Those Cherry Trees !
Terry Rhodes flies close to cherry trees to shake off water after a rainstorm.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Pruning From The Ground
Hand operated pruning tools are used to remove unwanted tree limbs. This encourages the tree to produce new wood that eventually produces larger leaves and bigger cherries. It also allows sunlight to reach all cherries and help the tree to ripen evenly.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Pruning From A Machine
A machine called a Girette allows the operator to navigate through the orchard using his feet to control the machine while leaving his hands free to operate a power saw to remove unwanted tree limbs so light can pass through to all cherries on the tree.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Old Time Harvest Friends
Many harvest families that travel to Montana's Flathead Valley each year have been coming for years. For them it is like a reunion to visit old friends as well as help harvest the Flathead's cherries.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Prototype Mechanical Havester
A prototype mechanical harvester is tested in Washington State to see if cherries can be harvested by gently shaking them off the tree into a carrier that places them directly into a large bin.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Roll Out The White Carpet
Research is being done to show the results of placing a reflective material under trees. It is hoped that reflecting light into the bottom of trees will cause the low hanging fruit to ripen uniformly with high hanging fruit exposed to more sunlight.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana A Cherry Blossom's Best Friend
The Honey Bee helps pollinate cherry blossoms so they become cherries. Keep water in your orchard for the bees to drink so they don't have to travel long distances. Having water close keeps the bees working on your blooms and not flying around looking for water.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Say NO! To Orchard Dandelions!
Keep dandelions out of your orchard during bloom so the bees stay on your cherry blossoms. Don't spray toxic chemicals or herbicides during bloom. These sprays could kill some of the hive's population and reduce your crop size.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana The Bee Keeper Cometh!
A Busy Beekeeper sets out a hive of bees near a blossoming cherry tree.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Applying the Dormant Spray
The first spray of the season is applied when the buds start to show Green color.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Fresh Cherries Start Arriving
Small loads and big loads start arriving during harvest depending upon the size of the orchard and the amount picked that day.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana A Grower Loads Empty Bins
Growers bring in full bins of cherries and return to their orchards with empty bins so the picking process can continue.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Time To cool the cherries
Each arriving load of cherries is immediately run through a cold-water bath that cools the cherries and prepares them for transporatation to the packing company.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Recording Grower Deliveries
Each Load of fresh cherries arriving at the plant is recorded so accurate records can be maintained as to how the harvest is progressing.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Testing Arriving Cherries
Each load of cherries arriving at the plant is inspected for color, temperature, and sweetness. They are also inspected to make sure there are no unwanted insects in the load.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana An Unwanted Visitor!
During Cherry Season, and especially during harvest, the cherry furit fly is an unwanted visitor. All commercial orchards and Hobby orchards must apply sprays to eradicate this pest because the Flathead Cherry Region is a Pest Management Area and controlling them is the law.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Western Cherry Fruit Fly
The western cherry fruit fly is the one major pest to orchards. It can cause a Montana grower's fruit to be Non-Maretable if the fly's larvae is found in the grower's cherries at harvest time.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Wow! What's This In My Trap!!
If you find a cherry fruit fly in your orchard, you must apply the proper sprays to your trees or contact the flathead lake cherry growers for more information at Contact Us on the main menu.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Bins, Bins Everywhere!
Thousands of cherry bins remain stacked waiting for Harvest to begin. Growers will take the bins to their orchards and deliver them back to the plant full of freshly picked cherries.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Bins Of Cherries Await Shipping
Cherries are stored in large bins while they await shipping to the processor and packer. Each bin holds approximately 300 pounds of cherries.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana A Helicopter Drying An Orchard
When Mother Nature rains during harvest, it's time for the helicopter to hover over the trees and blow the water off the cherries so they don't split their skins.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Busy Bee ! Busy Bee !
A honey bee, hard at work, can pollinate thousands of cherry blooms in the course of just a few days. They work tirelessly as long as the temperature is above 50 degrees and there is daylight.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Cherry Trees In Bloom
Walking through orchards when the trees are in full bloom and hearing the hum of the honey bees hard at work is an experience one never forgets.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana An Orchard In Full Bloom
One of the most beautiful times in the Flathead is when all cherry trees are in full bloom. It's like a sea of white and a time when many tourists plan their vacations to Montana.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Pollinating The Blooms
Homey bees transfer pollen from bloom to bloom to insure those blooms turn into cherries.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Dwarf Cherry Trees In Bloom
In addition to full size cherry trees, some orchards have smaller dwarf trees that are not so tall and are easier and quicker to pick.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Bees For Pollination
Palettes containing hives of honey bees are brought into the orchards during bloom to help pollinate those varieties of cherries that are not self-pollinating.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana Women Work Hard, Too!
Even the women of the Flathead enjoy the activities surrounding cherry harvest with all its excercise and excitement.
   
Flathead Cherry Growers, Flathead Lake Montana A Grower Loads His Trailer
A grower loads freshly picked bins of cherries on his flatbed trailer to transport them to the receiving station at Finley Point, Montana.
   

 

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