Specialists and growers are beginning to see what kind of a fruit crop Utah County will have this year, and so far, they like what they see.

"It looks like it might be a pretty good fruit season," said Tony Hatch, fruit specialist at the Utah State University Extension Service office in Provo. "This year so far is probably a little better than last year for most of our crops."Hatch said apple growers should already be spraying their trees, and cherry growers should now spray for the Western Cherry Fruit Fly. Rotenone or pyrethrum sprays should be used on cherry trees and all spraying should be finished by next week, he said.

While the outlook for tart cherries is good, the sweet cherry crop could be surprisingly low. Hatch said the cool and wet weather during the sweet cherry bloom reduced the number of pollinated blossoms.

But even if the crop of tart, or pie, cherries is good, the market may not be favorable again this year. Growers say the pie cherry availability and carryover from states such as Michigan could make things difficult on Utah growers. Traditionally, Utah County has been the top fruit-producing county in the state and one of the most productive areas in the country.

While the overall forecast for Utah County fruit is positive, there are the usual localized minidisasters that plague growers.

"We had a hailstorm that hit one of our orchards near Lincoln Beach," said Janet McMullin of McMullin Orchards in Payson. "We're hoping some of them will fall off (in the June drop)."

Hatch said the June drop, which reduces the amount of hand-thinning growers have to do, is just beginning in most areas. In a good June drop, excess fruit sloughs off and trees are left with a healthy amount of fruit they can sustain. Once the June drop wraps up in a couple of weeks, growers will be able to ascertain exactly what kind of a crop they will have.

Morris Ercanbrack of Ercanbrack W M Co. in Santaquin said sweet cherries are prospering, while other fruit - such as apricots and peaches - are up and down.

"Apricots are hit and miss," he said. "Some people's trees are loaded to the gills and others don't have any."

Apples, except Red Delicious, have benefited from the wet spring and are strong, Ercanbrack said. Most growers, including Ercanbrack, say this year's harvest will make their hard work worthwhile.

"There will be fruit in the valley," he said. "It may not be a bumper crop, but there will be fruit."