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Less farming means fewer cherries at 89th Emmett Cherry Festival

The festival only features one tent that sells cherries
Posted at 9:30 PM, Jun 14, 2024

EMMETT, IDAHO — The farming industry is dying as more and more generations move away from it. The Emmett Cherry Festival only features one booth that sells cherries because of it.

  • Because the farming industry has shrunk there are fewer crops.
  • Lance Phillips of Gem Orchards hopes younger generations bring back farming.
  • For more information on the 89th Emmett Cherry Festival click here.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

The people of Emmett have been looking forward to the 89th Annual Cherry Festival for months. But, compared to years past there aren't as many cherries coming from local farms! I'm your Emmett neighborhood reporter Alexander Huddleston talking with festival goers and a local farmer who says the problem is not a shortage of cherries. It's a shortage of farmers.

The annual cherry festival is back in Emmett. But longtime festival-goers are noticing some changes.

The cherries have been a sweet summer staple in the small town for decades.

"We used to take drives on the ditch bank and just overlook everything. When the cherry blossoms bloomed. If the cherries were ripe, we may take one or two."
Irma Pook

But the buzz around festival grounds keeps circling back to a common question: where are all the cherries?

So I asked Emmett fruit farmer Lance Phillips, what's changed over the years? He says the fruit isn't the challenge; it's finding enough farmers to keep up with the crops.

"It's a very complex job. Being a farmer takes a lot of hours and dedication. I'm dealing with chemistry, mechanics, and economics, I'm doing my own books. I have to be able to do marketing. Let alone horticulture, botany, hydrology, and the study of insects."
Lance Phillips

Phillips says he's worried future generations won't get into the farming industry but encourages them to explore the idea.

"Raising and growing things, there is no more honorable profession. It is very rewarding and I hope people come out, enjoy the festival, and enjoy the fruit we work so hard to raise and bring to you,"
Lance Phillips

Emmett Cherry Festival is not over! You and your family could check it out Saturday for all the festivities including the cherry pit spit, the pie-eating contest, and the parade!