SALIDA – Cherry trees have been stolen from a farm in Salida at the North end of Sisk Road along a canal, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.
The Sheriff’s department reports that about 40 of the bare-root trees were stolen earlier this week from the orchard.
Paul Van Konynenburg, who owns the land, is not only upset about the trees being ripped from the ground but, frustrated. Some of the trees were left to die.
“Frustrating. It’s really frustrating because it does so much damage,” said Van Konynenburg.
Van Konynenburg says the cherry trees were freshly planted and had been saturated by this week’s rain.
‘Bare-root’ refers to a dormant plant that is able to be dug up from the ground for either storage or transport, after packing the roots in moist material.
Van Konynenburg says he thinks he knows who stole his cherry trees and that the thief might rake in $30 for the trees.
“We strongly believe it is someone who is a local transient who struggles with drug addiction,” said Van Konynenburg.
The thief’s small profit will cost Van Konynenburg thousands in damages and lost time.
“It’s a whole year of until we can plant again because these were bare-root trees which you only plant in the winter,” said Van Konynenburg.
To most, the theft of dozens of trees seems unusual however, to Van Konynenburg it is just a part of the risk.
“It’s not unusual for people to steal agricultural products and it’s a frustrating fact of life that those of us who are in farming have to deal with,” said Van Konynenburg.
It usually takes five years for cherry trees to produce fruit, according to Van Konynenburg. He is working with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department to identify the thief.