The cherry picking season in Spain is between the months of April and August. Cherry picking can last between 100 and 130 days from the earliest areas of Aragon to the latest in the Jerte Valley.
The price of kg of cherries is higher at the beginning of the season, gradually lowering until it rebounds at the end of the cherry picking season.
It is increasingly common to find cherries during the fall / winter in greengrocers, in Chile the cherry picking season goes from November to February. In Mercamadrid, Chilean cherries are priced at prices between € 4 and € 30 / kg.
The weather and the time of cherry picking
The climate significantly affects the time of ripening and picking of cherries. During the winter, cherry trees need to accumulate chill hours to bloom correctly in spring. An excessively warm winter will delay the cherry blossom season.
Once the cherry blossoms and the cherries are curdled, the sunny days and the favorable temperatures advance the harvest. On the contrary, rain and low temperatures delay ripening.
Variety and time of cherry picking
The varieties of cherry have much to say at the time of ripening and harvest time of cherries. There is up to 50 days of difference between the harvest of varieties. Currently, researchers are looking to increase the cherry picking season by obtaining extra-early and late cherries.
Cherry picking speed
The cherry picking speed depends on the variety, caliber of the cherries, tree size, cherry tree load, defects, selection made… The kg collected per person and day may vary between 50 kg (selection and manual cherry picking ) to 200 kg (small trees and selection machines ).
When damage to cherries occurs, the kilograms harvested may make the collection of cherries unfeasible. On the other hand, cherry seasons with excess production (2018), lower prices below the collection costs.
In these situations, abandonment of the cherry harvest is inevitable.
Influence of the cherry variety
Firm cherry varieties that have a long peduncle can be picked up faster.
Depending on how cherries are picked
Some varieties of cherries are collected without a tail “pillory“. When the cherry gives off the peduncle easily and is firm, the crop without a tail considerably improves the speed of harvesting.
The choice of how cherries are picked depends on the demand in the market and the prices that can be achieved.
Size of cherries
The large caliber cherries (+ 28mm), allow you to collect more kg of cherries at the same time.
Cherry tree load
Cherry trees with a medium load of fruits, usually have somewhat less harvest. However, the sizes are larger and allow you to collect more kg of cherry a day.
When the cherry trees are overloaded, the weight per cherry drops considerably and the collection becomes slower.
The new cherry plantations, with dwarf-rootstocks and high-density planting frames. They have small trees and do not need the use of cherry picking stairs. Therefore, cherry picking is faster and represents an important advantage over the traditional cherry plantations of the Jerte Valley.
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A significant part of the information, has been disclosed by Spanish research organizations. The behavior of cherry tree varieties may be different depending on the growing place.