Late, last harvest
The Washington cherry season has been running almost a week behind last year, which also was a late season. By the time the season ends, in August, the state’s growers expect to have shipped almost 13 million 20-pound boxes of cherries, including more than a million boxes of the blushed yellow Rainier cherries.
As soon as he picked the cherries at his two-acre block of Rainier and Lapins in East Wenatchee, Washington, Jesus Aguilar pulled out the trees. He’s focusing on developing his orchard in Mattawa, Washington, where he can grow early varieties, such as Chelan and Tieton, and get them to market early while prices are high.
Aguilar said the cherries at the East Wenatchee orchard are ready to harvest when the state is in peak production. Other drawbacks of the location, which is in a residential area at Grant Road, are that neighbors complain about the cannons he uses to scare away birds. He’s also nervous about spraying his trees near a main road.