Five things I learned while researching cherry farms in Montana
- There are cherry farms in Montana! LOL. Actually, I knew this, but not always. I had a friend whom I used to work with tell me this about five years ago. He hadn’t been out there, but he knew someone who knew someone who owned one. I think Montana is a great state to set a romance in, and the idea of a setting it on cherry farm instead of a ranch intrigued me. But…how in the heck were there cherry farms in Montana? Didn’t it snow a lot and get really really cold there? Well, yes. But not in the Flathead Lake area. (At least, not as much.) In researching this location, I found out that because of the position of the mountains just to the west of the lake (and the height of the mountains, I believe), the coldest air kind of “drifts over” the lake region (I might have that slightly wrong), leaving the temperatures around the lake more temperate all year. Therefore the ground doesn’t make a habit of freezing so hard that the trees die out during the winter.
- If cherries get wet on the trees and aren’t dried off before it gets too hot in the day, the skin can (and often will) split. These cherries are non-marketable, so there are always helicopters on standby during cherry season, just for those wet mornings.
- Farmers sometimes place reflective material under the trees. This is to reflect sunlight onto the lower branches, to cause the lower-hanging fruit to ripen uniformly with the higher hanging fruit (which naturally gets more sunlight). Makes sense, but something that made me go hmmm.
- I knew this fact, but at the same time I feel like I *didn’t* know this. The cherry trees rely on honey bees to pollinate the cherry blossoms. Duh, right? We all know this. But this fact didn’t really occur to me when I first set out to write Montana Cherries. While plotting and planning what the book would eventually become, it finally dawned on me that if I wanted to do something like set a wedding in the gorgeous fields of blooming cherry trees (or have a business where a farmer might host weddings), it might not be such a good idea. Because wedding parties would have to contend with thousands of bees!
- Another bee fact: Farmers should keep water in the orchards for the bees. This will keep the bees close and working on the orchard, instead of flying all over looking for water. (And one more bonus bee fact…beekeepers bring hives of bees in to the orchards. I guess a lot more are needed than what would naturally find their way there.)
- And just because I apparently can’t count…the sixth thing I learned while researching cherry farms in Montana is that I desperately want to go to the cherry farms in Montana! I’ve been trying to get out there at the right time for several years. (Trees bloom in May, harvest is in July.) It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m determined that it will some day!
After her mother’s tragic death, Dani Wilde had no choice but to abandon her dreams. She left Columbia University and returned to her family’s Montana cherry farm, intent on being a maternal figure to her brothers. Now the kids are grown, and it’s finally her time to fly. Her sights are on New York City, and nothing will stop her—not even an old flame with gorgeous green eyes.
Celebrity photographer Ben Denton hasn’t seen Montana in years—and hasn’t spoken to Dani since “that night” so long ago. When he discovers he’s a dad to a four-year-old—and the child’s mother refuses to care for her—Montana and the Wilde farm spring to mind. The orchard is the only place that’s ever felt like home, but will the warmth of the Wilde family be enough to help Ben figure out how to be a father?
As the Wilde family gathers for the yearly cherry harvest and Dani struggles to figure out what she really wants in life, she discovers the shocking truth about her own mother—and learns that following her heart may lead her to her dreams after all.drama, his own family may be hiding something that could ruin their rekindled romance for good.
In Book Two of the Davenports romance series, sex and politics collide…with passionate results.