It is now only 4 weeks to cherry season, just one month to the mid-July <strong>organic cherries</strong> from Danny and Miranda&#8217;s <em>Just-a-Mere Organic Farm</em> in BC.&#160;&#160; Encourage your friends to sign up for the summer &#8211; they get amazing cherries and you get a <strong>$20 referral credit!</strong>&#160;&#160;&#160; This week, we continue our exploration of just what makes these cherries so special &#8211; all our hard work, from pests to pruning. Growing these cherry jewels is not without its challenges.&#160;&#160;&#160; The top insect pests are Black Cherry Aphid, Cherry Fruit Fly and Spotted Wing Drosophila.&#160; Visual monitoring, along with yellow sticky traps and vinegar traps, help to detect pests.&#160; We apply various approved sprays such as horticultural soaps and oils to prevent and control infestations.&#160; &#160;We also have ten free-range chickens in the apple trees gobbling up those insects and many Killdeer birds nesting in the squash fields eating grubs. The top cherry tree diseases are bacterial canker, powdery mildew, brown rot, botrytis and root rot.&#160;&#160; Orchard sanitation, proper pruning, irrigation and drainage, plant nutrition and a timely nutrient spray program are our most important tools.&#160; &#160;Orchard sanitation involves mulching fall leaves so they decompose quickly and removing all fruit from the trees.&#160;&#160;&#160; Proper pruning includes opening the trees to light and air, removing dead branches and balancing crop loads.&#160;&#160; Proper irrigation and drainage includes monitoring ground moisture and maintaining irrigation systems.&#160;&#160; Plant nutrition includes knowledge of organic matter and microorganisms to apply compost as needed.&#160;&#160; A timely integrated pest management program includes knowledge of organic control measures.&#160; &#160;Shipping and storage issues also play a large role in the success of the crop, but our number one concern is probably the weather! We have an incredible farm staff:&#160; Margaret, Sunni, Trudy and Brandt keep the farm running year-round.&#160;&#160; In cherry-picking season, the campers roll up the driveway from across the country in an almost instinctual migration.&#160;&#160;&#160; The pickers work early hours from the cool 5:00 am breezes to finish around noon in the sweltering heat.&#160;&#160; The &#8216;swamper&#8217; comes in from the fields with trailers full of buckets of gorgeous cherries.&#160;&#160; The cherries are then sorted by hand in our packing house and stored in our farm cooler to be delivered in our refrigerated truck to our Edmonton warehouse and then to your door.