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Richland U-Pick farm open for cherry picking

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RICHLAND, Wash -- At Ray French Orchards in Richland the trees are heavy with ripe Benton cherries. Doug Bonfoey was the first one in the orchard when they opened this week, he'll pick enough to freeze and eat all year. "When it gets to be February and you're eating these things it gets to be quite a treat," says Bonfoey.

The season starts with Benton, then Rainier cherries. Next will come several varities of peaches and nectarines and finally apples in the fall. Owner Sandra French says nothing compares to tree ripened fruit.

"The fruit here is ready to eat right now and it has its full flavor and the texture's right. People come out here and say where are those peaches that run down your arms?"

This orchard has been in the same family for 50 years, and many families make fruit picking an annual event. Larysa Strand is cherry picking with her grandson and looks forward to this every year.

She wants him to see firsthand where his fruit comes from. "I hope I will create a good memory for him and he will remember," says Strand.

Ravadi Quinn used to live in Richland, and when she visits from her home in Thailand each year, she times her visits around the cherry harvest and takes as much back with her as possible.

"I don't know how much I can carry in my suitcase, it depends on how much I can carry. I'm sure it will be at least 30 or 40 pounds."

Cherry season is quick. The trees will likely be picked clean by the 4th of July. A delicious summer treat, fresh off the trees, and in our own backyard.

Ray French Orchards is located at 921 Harvest Lane PR NE, Richland. For information on other U-pick farms around our region you can log onto http://www.pickyourown.org/WA.htm.


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