January 6, 2010
Chilly conditions good news for fruit, nut lovers

cherries.jpgApparently all this cold weather has done more than just drive us into our kitchens to cook soup and bake bread - it's aiding fruit and nut trees.

Most fruit and nut trees need a certain amount of chill hours - recorded when the temperature drops below 45 degrees - in order to help develop a crop for the next season, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

More chill hours have been recorded so far this year than last year at this time thanks to foggy weather conditions accelerating chill hour accumulations, the California Cherry Commission reported to the federation.

Cherries, apples and pears need the most chill hours, about 1200 hours. Fewer chilling hours results in a lighter crop, the federation reports.

Guess I should stop whining about this finger-numbing weather, if only for the sake of fresh cherry pie this summer.

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