Oct 30, 2014American farmers are growing old, with spiraling costs keeping out young
Art McManus slowly threads his 2001 white GMC pickup through a rolling grove of cherry trees, their limbs heavy with crimson fruit. Eyeing his 25-year-old grandson working with a crew of farmhands, he stops to watch them attach a mechanical shaker that grips a tree and violently rocks its cherries into a canvas catch frame and conveyor.
“Each one of those trees is like a child – when a limb breaks, it bothers me,”says McManus, who planted this orchard of maraschino cocktail cherries more than a decade ago. “It took all this time to get it to this point, and I’d like to keep it going.”
But the 73-year-old owner of the 150-acre Southview Orchards isn’t sure he can make that happen. None of McManus’s three grown children wants to take over the tart cherry farm.