Fruit Production In The Magic Valley


By Joey Martin

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) Typically when you think of agriculture production in the Magic Valley, potatoes and beans are the first things that come to mind.

But did you know fruit production has deep roots in southern Idaho?

I.B. Perrine was one of the first to plant apple trees in the southern Idaho region.

But in the over 100 years since, fruit has fallen to the wayside and large scale farming has taken control.

But that doesn't mean fruit production is dead in the area.

"We do have some people that try to make a livelihood out of fruit. Usually down in the canyon there’s a couple different orchards down there; there are some you-pick orchards down there for peaches and apples," explains Tony McCammon, area horticulture educator.

But for the most part, it is homeowners taking on the majority of fruit production.

"A lot of our fruit in this area is grown in people's back yards," McCammon points out.

And for those back yard producers, keeping a watchful eye on the frost is more than half the battle.

"We had that warm spell a couple weeks ago, and now we have all of these blossoms on our apricot trees and even our peaches are starting to blossom out... our cherry trees are starting to blossom out," McCammon says.

"That’s not good... not good for this area because we're going to end up with a couple more frosts. And anything below 25 degrees is really going to hammer a lot of our blooms," he adds.

McCammon says it could be up well into May until we are completely frost free.

So how can you protect your fruit trees in the meantime?

"There's a couple of things you can do , especially if you have just one or two trees... just putting some heat lamps inside and maybe some type of frost cloth over the tree (if it's a small tree). If you're talking about those huge cherry trees then you know, you give it up to Mother Nature this year and hope for a better year next year," McCammon explains.

"It's just some of those risks we take living in a high mountain dessert," he adds.

Pruning is a must do now to ensure good productions.

And this time of the year is the perfect time to plant your tree, if producing your own fruit is something you really want to do.

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