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Door County cherry harvest underway

Tart cherries in bucket at Paradise Farm near Brussels, July 14, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

DOOR COUNTY (WLUK) -- They're red, they're very tart, and they are ripe for the picking. The season for Door County cherries is underway.

Some orchards are ahead of schedule, while others are waiting to open.

Producers say it all comes down to the weather.

An early morning drizzle didn't stop the Brownson family from Freedom from picking cherries Friday.

"They look like this, Yeah, they look pretty good," said Seth Brownson, Freedom.

"They're all supposed to be picking, but not all of them are efficient at picking yet. So we have them running and getting buckets," said Heather Brownson, Freedom.

"You have to bring buckets to people if they need them. And then if there are full ones, I bring them back. Are they heavy? A little bit," said Caleb Brownson, Freedom.

Paradise Farm near Brussels opened its pick-your-own tart cherry operation Monday. Owner Daniel Willming says a combination of frost, heat and rain resulted in a below average crop.

"I would say we are probably about 60 percent loss on our crop here. So it makes it really really challenging for our season when it come time to harvest," said DanielWillming, Paradise Farm Owner.

Willming says the cherries that made it look very good.

"They're fantastic. The size isn't the greatest, but the flavor is phenomenal," he said.

Producers say conditions for the cherry crop can vary throughout the county. At Robertson Orchards near Sturgeon Bay, the tart cherries are ready to go. The pick-your-own season officially begins Saturday.

"It might be just this weekend, or into Monday, depending on how many people show up. I'm sure there will be a lot of cars driving in," said Kris Robertson, Robertson Orchards of Door County Owner.

Robertson says he lost about 65 percent of his crop, due to the rain.

"It's been a weird spring, and summer, I don't know," he said.

Back at Paradise Farm, the typical two-week season ended Friday morning.

"Once the season's over, it's over," said Willming.

Cherry officials tell us there is still plenty of picking to do.

Many of the orchards in the northern part of Door County plan to open July 20th, which is next Thursday.

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