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July 17, 2011 Cherries!

By April 2, 2012April 24th, 2012Uncategorized

Cherries?  Cherries.  CHERRIES!  I have to admit to not completely telling the truth about our cherries.  We have steadfastly told anyone who inquired that we would not have any sweet cherries this year due to our spring frosts.  And, that was “sort of” true.  But, not completely true.

In June I saw a few cherries up in the tops of the trees.  Enough to notice, enough to hope, but…  The problem with cherries is that we always have to give the birds their percentage first.  They seem to be happy to eat an almost ripe cherry whereas I prefer to eat a fully ripe cherry.  In a normal year we share.  They eat as fast as they can and we pick as fast as we can.  They get their percent and we get ours.  But, in a light crop year the birds don’t play fair.  They assume there is a full crop and eat accordingly.  They forget that we are supposed to get our percent.  I’ve seen a light crop disappear completely in one day just as the cherries got close to being ripe.  Given the crop load this year, I figured there were just enough cherries out there to give us hope, but not enough to get past the birds.  The good news is that I was wrong – the birds did play fair this year and left us enough to actually pick.  Mother Nature – you can just never predict what her whims will be!

We will have cherries at all our markets (Boulder, Golden, Fort Collins, Pearl, East, Stapleton) this weekend.  Our 2011 market schedule and locations are on our website at  We will probably sell out of cherries and this is our complete crop (unless, of course, the birds happen to leave us the very, very light crop on our later trees and I will mea culpa to you yet again).  Even though this is only a fraction of what we would have in a normal year, we are pleased to be able to start the markets with something fresh and flavorful.

I have been remiss in sending out newsletters, so our other news from the farm is that Mother Nature has been keeping us guessing all year.  We did get beat up a bit in the winter freezes and spring frosts.  We spent some sleepless nights, but our wind machines did help.  We don’t have a full crop out there, yet there is a something of most things.  Cherries and plums were hit the worst.  You will see our cherry crop this weekend.  Our plums will be metered out through the season.  Pears look reasonable.  Apples are all across the board from a good crop of Gala’s to very light crops of Fuji’s and Golden’s.  Peaches are the same – some varieties have a full crop, others have a 20% crop.

In some years some things fare better than others.  Relative sensitivities to frost become apparent.  In one block of peaches, our JH Hales have peaches all over the trees and ten feet away the Suncrest’s only have a crop up in the tops.  This variation was due to our spring frosts.  However, if you had looked at the number of blooms on the trees before those spring frosts, the JH Hale’s  were hurt much more in the winter cold than the Suncrest’s.  It all just goes to show that, even with all the science and knowledge, subtle variations in the trees, varieties and temperatures have profound impacts.  It makes me believe more and more that, although we try to manage our fruit system, we really are just along for a whopping ride on Ma Natures roller coaster.  Pay your quarter, take your chances, enjoy the ride along the way.

We wish you all a happy summer.  Our early peaches are coloring on the trees.  We don’t have many, but we might (remember my credibility factor concerning cherries now) have a very few next week (July 23-24) at the markets.  We will certainly have a few the following week and then hope to keep going from there.

As new fruits appear at the markets I will be updating things on our Facebook page, especially when I don’t have time for a full fledged newsletter  (  I also post some fruit trivia on occasion.  We want to let you know what is happening on the farm!  Join us as a friend.

Take care, enjoy the long days and thank you for your support.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone again!

Steve Ela

Ela Family Farms

30753 L Rd

Hotchkiss, CO  81419

970 872 3488


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Ela Family Farms

2011 Market Schedule




Boulder Farmers Market

13 th St. , between Arapahoe & Canyon Blvd

8 a.m. – 2 p.m. , April – November 5


Golden Farmers Market

Next to Public Library on 10 th St .

8 a.m. – 1 p.m. , July 9 – October 1


Fort Collins (Larimer County Farmers Mkt.) 

In the Larimer County Courthouse parking lot, 200 W. Oak

(Located between Howes and Mason Streets)

8 a.m. – noon , July 23 – October 15



City Park Esplanade Farmers Market, Denver

Near 16 th & York in front of East High School, across from the Tattered Cover

9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ; late July 10 – October 30


Old South Pearl Street Farmers Mkt., Denver

South Pearl St. between Iowa and Florida

9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ; late July 10 – October 30


Stapleton Farmers Market, Denver

29 th and Quebec

9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ; late July 10 – October 8



October 1 – 2

Lakewood Cider Days

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Lakewood Heritage Center (Wadsworth & Ohio)

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