Getmans’ Orchard provides unique you-pick experience in scenic locale

by Mackenzie Reiss
| May 6, 2020 4:00 AM

Getmans’ Orchard provides unique you-pick experience in scenic locale

On the east shore of Flathead Lake, perhaps the most iconic sign of the spring season has arrived: cherry blossoms. These delicate white clusters adorn branches of once dormant trees that flank the lake shore in rolling hillside orchards.

In one particular grove, some 10 miles south of Bigfork proper, is Dan Getman of Getmans’ Orchard and Vineyard, a hilly haven home to a mixture of cherry, peach and apple trees, among other varieties. He steps beneath the fertile boughs with a hand pruner, shearing off tips of errant branches. It’s a practice that encourages the tree to channel its energy into fruit growing, rather than producing leaves, Getman said, trimming down a limb to his side with a careful snip snip.

“Every year is different. I’ve seen again and again that when there is less quantity or quality in one fruit variety, there is more in others,” he said.

But when it comes to cherries specifically, Getman is optimistic about this year’s crop.

“There’s been rumors; there’s been a lot of talk about the frost around Easter time, the buds were swelling and then it got down to 19, 20 degrees for a couple of days and a lot of people did see bud damage there, but I’m not promoting that… I’m promoting: Yes. Cherries. Fruit,” he explained. “Optimism is kind of a scarce commodity these days, but I’m riding on that and I feel it in my bones.”

This year will mark the 14th season for Getmans’, a you-pick orchard that stands 700 trees strong and produces 30,000-40,000 pounds of cherries annually. Getman expects the crop to mature in mid-July, but noted that members of the public can make appointments to harvest fruit on the orchard as early as late June, when raspberries are ripe. In addition to you-pick cherries, the orchard also offers picking experiences for apricots, plums, apples and even peaches, a rarity in the state.

“I like doing things that are challenging,” he said. “Not that many people grow peaches.”

The orchard is relatively small, Getman noted, but its yield is diverse and he prides himself on growing with a focus on quality over quantity.

And for Getman, the orchard is about more than the fruit itself. The experience, he said, is of equal importance. A fruit picking excursion at Getmans’ is a family-friendly venture that gets people up close and personal with their food.

“It’s not just the fruit, it’s the experience of being in nature,” he said. “That primal experience of reaching up, grabbing a fruit and eating it has been with humans for a long time. For people to be able to have that experience is just as valuable as the actual fruit.” ■

For more about the orchard, visit www.getmanorchardandvineyard.com or call (406) 871-5499.

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$ID/NormalParagraphStyle:MACKENZIE REISS | Bigfork Eagle $ID/NormalParagraphStyle:Dan Getman of Getmans’ Orchard and Vineyard prunes a tree on Monday, May 4.