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Cherries, pests, farm fun and Dazzle

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With cherry season underway, several growers and packers are weighing in on the marketing side of things. The Packer, a trade publication for the fruit industry, offers a round up of changes. (https://wwrld.us/2sYNOoo)

♦ Chelan Fresh Marketing in Chelan expects to have about 90,000 boxes of Orondo Ruby cherries this year, up from 70,000 last year.

♦ Wenatchee’s CMI Orchards has increased its organic cherry volume by half, offering Chelan, Bing, Skeena, Lapin and Rainier. The company has updated its website and added marketing and food safety employees.

♦ Wenatchee’s Oneonta Starr Growers has added two optical sorters to its cherry packing house in the past three years, along with some clamshell machines and new front-end bin dumper to help handle growth. The company will pack 2.3 million boxes of cherries this season, but should be able to handle 2.8 million cartons in a few years.

Farm bureau foundation updates ‘Ag Across America’ game and app

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has launched an update to “Ag Across America,” a geography-based game. The new version has 100 new questions highlighting agricultural diversity across the nation, including videos of real American farmers asking questions. The game tests students’ knowledge on agriculture commodities and is geared toward students in grades 3, 4 and 5. The Ag Across America app is available for free download in the iTunes App Store and in the Google Play Store. It can also be played online at myamericanfarm.org.

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, founded in 1967, works to educate the public about the importance of agriculture. My American Farm educational resources are a special project of the foundation.

Fruit pest trap season begins

The Washington State Department of Agriculture has begun its annual hunt for pests that threaten the state’s ag industry. Trappers are hitting the road to set traps throughout the state to monitor for the introduction or spread of a variety of invasive pests, including apple maggot, gypsy moths and Japanese beetle.

Trappers will place approximately 11,000 apple maggot traps in Eastern Washington. Apple maggot presents a significant risk to the state’s iconic apple industry but the majority of Washington’s main apple-growing region remains free of apple maggot.

WSDA’s apple maggot trappers play a significant role in monitoring for and slowing the spread of apple maggot. The quarantine area includes stretches from western Washington to include the western part of Chelan County, ending in Leavenworth.

About 30,000 gypsy moth traps also will be placed throughout the state, with intensive trapping in Pierce and Kitsap counties, where the agency already treated for gypsy moths. Gypsy moths pose a significant risk not only to agriculture, but also threaten forests, parks and cityscapes. Gypsy moths cause extensive ecological damage by eating more than 500 kinds of trees and shrubs. They also reproduce rapidly, each female laying as many as 1,000 eggs.

WSDA is also continuing heightened Japanese beetle trapping as Oregon is attempting to eradicate an outbreak near Portland of this pest that feeds on more than 300 plants. About 1,900 traps will be set this year in Washington, with an emphasis in the Vancouver area, as well as near airports.

To monitor the pests, trappers place grids of traps throughout the state at various densities. Residents are asked not to disturb insect traps they may encounter and report fallen traps at 1-800-443-6684. For details, visit agr.wa.gov.

Dazzle’-ing

Chelan Fruit and Gebbers Farms signed a license agreement to grow and sell Dazzle apples, a red apple variety originating from New Zealand.

The two companies are the first to be licensed to produce and market the apples. They have committed to plant 3 million trees in 12 years, starting in 2020.

Fruitcraft, a collaboration between New Zealand apple growers Mr. Apple, Bostock New Zealand and Freshmax, launched the Dazzle variety last year.

Chelan Fruit has 325 grower members, with 14,000 acres. Gebbers Farms has 13,500 acres in apples and cherries. The two companies market through Chelan Fresh, which they co-own.

Commercial plantings are expected to begin in 2020.

AgWatch is a collection of agriculture-related news from across the region. If you have an industry-related story idea, call Nevonne McDaniels at 664-7151 or email: mcdaniels@wenatcheeworld.com.

Reach Nevonne McDaniels at 509-664-7151 or .