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Why All The Choppers Flying Around The Mid-Columbia?

helicopters used in cherry drying
(Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

You may have noticed a number of helicopters buzzing around the Mid-Columbia lately…just what are they doing?

Well, they’re NOT spying on anyone.  Those would be black helicopters!   No, they’re being used to dry cherries.   Many people in the Mid-Columbia know of this, but in case you didn’t,  here’s why they are hovering.

  We’re not agricultural experts, but we do know that if cherries are exposed to excessive amounts of water, and absorb too much, they can split-ruining the crop.  That can result in disaster for area farmers, and higher prices for consumers.    How it works is the helicopters hover over the orchards, using the downwash, or wind, from the rotors to blow off excess moisture.   This keeps the cherries from splitting.

   There are actually a number of companies who farm out their services to orchards and farmers around the region, and they make a very decent living doing it.   The job can be hazardous as well, as last year a pilot lost his life while drying an orchard near Chelan WA.   Check out this video as the pilot narrates what is involved in drying an orchard.

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