STURGEON BAY - It's a sure sign of spring and hope. The cherry trees have started to blossom in Door County.
And with less than a week until Memorial Day, the summer tourism season is gearing up as well.
Cherry producers hope for a much better year than last.
"I'm looking at all these blossoms, and it looks like 9 out of 10 are good," said Kris Robertson, Robertson Orchards of Door County owner.
Robertson says his ten acres of cherry trees are about two weeks behind schedule.
"We had one hard frost on Mother's Day, but that was about the only one we had. It got pretty cold did a little damage, but it looks good so far," said Robertson.
Robertson says bees have been busy pollinating the plants.
"We like a quick pollination, like a week of nice warm, hot, windy weather," said Robertson.
It's a far cry from last year. Warm temperatures in March and April led to an early bloom. Spring frost finished off much of the crop.
"I think the inventory is pretty much depleted, so they're looking for cherries this year to fill everybody's orders," said Robertson.
The blooming blossoms can also signal the start of the summer tourism season. At Grandma Tommy's Country Store just north of Sturgeon Bay, the owners say business is picking up.
"This is our cherry salsa," said Kate Laubenstein, Grandma Tommy's Country Store owner.
Laubenstein says cherry products are available but depending on the item, people can expect to pay a little more this season.
"The crop was very small. Prices are very much affected this year. They're not going to be like they were in previous years. But they're hoping that this year's crop should be able to level things out for next year," said Laubenstein.
"I don't think people stayed away last year because they couldn't get cherries. But it certainly enhances their experience while here. Picking their own cherries, with their families, or what have you," said Jon Jarosh, Door County Visitor Bureau.
Cherry producers say it will take 60 days for the cherries to mature.
"We had a good weekend, nice sunny weather. Bees are flying. Can't be any better," said Robertson.
Cherry producers say if you want to see the trees blossom you better hurry.
In about a week, the blossoms will be gone, and the cherries will be on their own.
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