Snow Hits Stemilt's Growing Regions in Washington; Marketing Director Roger Pepperl Explains
WENATCHEE, WA - We have had quite a gift this holiday season, with cold temperatures and much needed precipitation and snow gracing the U.S. West Coast. While this may not make a substantial dent in the drought conditions for the Western states, Stemilt Growers is welcoming this ideal winter weather as they look towards a fruitful year.
Earlier this week, a low pressure and cold front related to Ferus pushed into the Pacific Northwest, bringing strong winds and heavy snow to parts of California, Oregon and most importantly for Stemilt - Washington. Marketing Director Roger Pepperl took a few minutes to talk with me about the weather effects on Stemilt’s orchards, and how they are as happy as we are to watch the snow fall.
“Snow protects the roots from deep freezes and severe fluctuations in temperatures which can hurt the trees,” Roger tells me. “The trees get true chill hours during a Washington winter which is one of the many reasons that the cherries are so good.”
Roger also notes that the rest from chill ensures that energy will be in the tree to fuel great fruit production with great flavor and potential good sets of bloom.
“The deep snow will fill our reservoirs that are scattered up on Stemilt Hill and in other cherry locations during periodic melts,” he adds.
The deep snow above these orchards in the foothills and the Cascades they rest against will use this snow to melt in the spring and summer months to replenish creeks that provide water to the land.
“This location is full of some of Stemilt’s favorite cherries - Staccato, Skeena, and some Rainier as well," Roger says. "The snow will no doubt help our apple trees for next year’s fall crop on Stemilt Hill bringing varieties like Pinata, Honeycrisp, and Gala to our retail partners.
While drought conditions continue to persist in the U.S. West, we keep our fingers crossed that Mother Nature’s current mood is a sign of things to come.