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Farmers entering final push of harvest season

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Concord grapes still have a month to fatten and ripen on the vine. The grape harvest should get under way towards the end of September.

The smell of freshly cut mint lingers in the air. The local fruit stands are filling up with more and more fruits. Harvest season is upon us and should last until the end of October.

Mint farmers are in their second cutting of spearmint. Doug Simpson, a partner in Simpson Bros. Farms in Mabton, said he took his first cutting of spearmint towards the end of last June.

This past week, Simpson said, they had been cutting peppermint and it's mainly finished and being distilled right now. As the peppermint is cooked to release its oil, the spearmint is lying in the fields drying.

Concorde Grapes will be ready to harvest soon. John Simpson, another partner at Simpson Bros. Farms, said they should start harvesting by the end of September. "It takes about a month," he said.

This weekend farmers will start cutting the silage corn, used for feeding cattle.

Dennis Jones, a partner in Jones Farms in Granger, said they have been picking sweet corn since June and will continue to pick until the end of October. "We pick every day," he said.

Jones also said they are just about done picking nectarines. Jones Farms grows six different varieties of nectarines and has already finished picking two of them, Flavor Top and Western Sweets. He said they are currently finishing up on two more varieties, Red Gold and Washington Pride, and should finish picking his other two varieties, Fantasia and Summer Blush, by the middle of September.

Peaches are being harvested now, also. Jones said the peach season started a little late this year, so peaches will be picked through September. Jones said he has 19 varieties of peaches, including Elegant Lady, Sun Crest, Crest Haven and Coral Star.

Tomatoes are still coming off the vines. Jones said if the weather stays warm they should be picking clear into October. "If it gets cold, they kind of stop," he added.

Just this week Jones said he started picking pumpkins, squash and gourds.

Pears are also being picked. Jones said he has finished picking Bartlett pears but still has other varieties that will need to be harvested soon.

He added he will start picking Fuji apples in a couple of weeks with other varieties to follow.

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