Always in Season: Cherries AIS_Lodi_EXP123116_1280x642

Always in Season: Cherries

Always in Season: Cherries
Get the inside scoop on cherries from a third-generation farmer

It’s easy to speed through the Central Valley, rolling along the farm-bounded straightaways of U.S. 99 or Interstate 5. But take the country roads less traveled, especially in summer, and you’ll find yourself in the heart of some of the world’s most productive farmland—trees laden with nuts and sun-ripened fruit, lush grape vines, and tidy rows of field crops. On the grid of roads crisscrossing the farmland bordering U.S. 99 southeast of Stockton, farmer Jeff Colombini grows four varieties of cherries, some familiar classics, like garnet-colored, ultra-juicy California Bing, others types less well known, like Coral Champagne, a sweet and firm cherry that ripens a little earlier—to get the season started “before the Bings get rolling,” notes Colombini.

Sweet cherries came to North America with English colonists. Later, Spanish missionaries brought them to California. 

Though the crops haven’t changed much since Colombini started farming 25 years ago, the way they’re grown continues to evolve, sometimes in ways that you can see when you drive by his and other orchards. Look for fruit trees being trained to grow in a V-shape, or even a vertical wall, both ways to maximize the amount of sunlight hitting all parts of the tree.

With every innovation, Colombini has his sights set on the long-term. “I’m making decisions now for the next generation,” explains the third-generation farmer. “I want my children and grandchildren to be able to do what I do, too.”

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Laura Flippen

Central California

Discover the Central Valley

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8
December
Average (°C)
Dec - Feb
16°
High
3°
Low
Mar - May
28°
High
7°
Low
June - Aug
36°
High
16°
Low
Sept - Nov
32°
High
6°
Low

California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory-rich experiences, a chance to see—and taste—the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak-shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce, and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low-key tasting rooms.

Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes—just some of the ultra-fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley.

Throughout the broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles/644 kilometers down the middle of the state, are cities and towns rich with history, international culture, and “everyone’s welcome” charm. 

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Lake Berryessa, located just outside of Winters, has a sunken city underneath it called Monticello.
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Courtesy of U.C. Davis College of Engineering
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