Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the frequently asked questions we get asked:
- When is cherry season?
Cherry season is very dependent on weather. Typically it can start anywhere from the middle to the end of July. We are always later than the East Shore, because we don’t get as much sun. In rare cases, we may even start the first week of August, but typically, for us, it is right around the last week of July.
- When are you open for cherry picking
See above. We do not open for picking until the cherries are fully ripe. It will vary from year to year. We have no way of knowing until the week before because it is entirely dependent on weather. If you want to be notified when we open, the best thing to do is sign up for our newsletter. We will send you an email as soon as we set and opening date. Unfortunately, we can not predict the weather,
- Do You Ship?
No we do not. Shipping requires that cherries be sent overnight, or next day air, in order to be received in good condition, and it is prohibitively expensive.
- Are you organic? / Do you spray?
No, we are not an organic orchard. State law requires anyone with a cherry tree, in our area to spray them. Cherries are a commercial crop in the Flathead Valley and if trees are not properly cared for, they become infected with worms. These worms can spread via the fruit fly they become. One infected tree will infect other trees. The results are lots of wormy, unsalable cherries.
- What kind of cherries to you have?
Most of our cherries are Lambert. These are similar to the Bings, sold in stores. They are a sweet, dark cherry. Royal Annes, Bing, Hardy Giant (pollenizer), and Lapins (pollenizer). We have planted more Bing trees, as well as Rainiers and Chelans.
- Do you sell Flathead Cherries?
This is a common question and a misconception. There is no such thing as a breed of Flathead Cherry. Flathead Cherries refer to the region, not a type. They can be any type grown in our area – Bing, Lambert, Skeena, Chelan, etc. Orchards around the Flathead Lake area all grow different types, although there are commonalities. It depends on the orchard.
- Do you offer any other fruits?
We do not have any other U-Pick fruit that we offer at this time. We do have apricots and depending on the size of the crop, they may be available for purchase. We also have apples. We do not sell these. These are “organic” – not certified, but we do not spray them. They are as they are. They may have had worms, bruising, etc. Normally we leave them for the deer, but we do have people that come and get them for cider and for applesauce. They make fantastic applesauce, pies and apple butter. If you are interested, let us know and we will put you on the call list for when they ripen.
- Can we swim/use the beach/have a picnic on the beach?
Yes, with restrictions. We ask that you pick up all your trash and take it with you and that you stay in the area we ask. It is also important that you understand you are “on your own”. There is no life-guard, public restroom/changing area, etc. But we do not have an issue with people going down and enjoying the water, during the picking season. But, please ask before heading down. Like most of Flathead Lake, there is Swimmer’s Itch in the area, so be sure to towel off promptly, if you enter the water.
- Can I bring my dog(s).
We would really prefer you didn’t. We have pets and we don’t want to have to worry about their safety, or the safety of your animals. We understand that if you are traveling, you may have a dog with you. We ask that you keep them on a leash. In the event of a warm day, we would prefer they go with you to your tree, and not stay in a hot car, but please keep them closely monitored and on their leash at all times.
- What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept primarily cash. But we will accept checks (local). We also accept WIC and Farm Direct Vouchers. We also now accept credit cards, but the price per pound is higher, to offset processing fees.
- Will you wholesale?
Yes! If you are getting a large quantity that you want to resell, let us know. We will make you a deal. If you want to set up a roadside stand somewhere and make some extra money, using our fruit, go for it! As long as you are picking, we would be happy to make a deal with you. We do NOT pick in large volumes for wholesale!
- Will you pick for us? Do you have fruit already available?
Unfortunately, we do not have the staffing available to pick during the season. If we can make accommodations we will try, but we normally can not.
- I don’t like ladders, can I pick from the ground?
Due to deer, we have very little ground picking. They prune all the lower limbs by eating everything they can reach. The best cherries will be up higher and unfortunately, they will need a ladder to be reached.
- We have children, can they pick?
We try to be as family friendly as possible, and this is an activity that children love. It is a good way to teach them about where their food comes from. However, that being said, you will need to climb a ladder to reach the cherries. (We provide them). We ask that you stay in the tree we place you and not wander, not all the trees around you may be ripe. Please pick everything you can reach from your ladder placement. This means if you are picking with small children, you will need to go up their ladder and pick what they can not reach before we move your ladders again. This ensures the tree will be picked completely at each ladder setting. We understand your child may be excited to pick, and can’t reach much, and while we want the best experience for everyone, it sometimes just doesn’t work out. It is kind of like the amusement park rides, and needing to be a certain height to ride. Some stuff is just going to be out of reach. Also, please do not let your children climb the trees. This can cause serious damage to the tree, and injure your child.
- Can I bring my own ladder?
No, I am sorry, we need to have you use our equipment. Our ladders are designed for orchard use and are stable. Household ladders are very unstable in our rocky soil and may cause you to have an accident.
- How long does the cherry season run?
Typically we run for about 5 – 7 days. This is variable, depending on the year, the size of the crop and the weather we are having. It will also depend on yellow jackets, which can deplete our crop rapidly.
- How can I reach a live person to ask more questions?
You can send us an email, or call us at 406-290-1377 (does not receive text messages!). You can also message us on Facebook or Google. Please leave a message if you don’t get someone, often times we are in the orchard and can’t get to the phone. We will return your phone call just as soon as we can.