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Washington Governor Jay Inslee, left, is given a tour of a new cherry packing line at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. by company president Rick Plath on June 6, 2014, in Yakima, Washington. The state-of-the-art cherry line was in its third full day of operation. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, left, is given a tour of a new cherry packing line at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. by company president Rick Plath on June 6, 2014, in Yakima, Washington. The state-of-the-art cherry line was in its third full day of operation. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee kicked off the start of the 2014 cherry season at an appearance today with Rick Plath, president of Washington Fruit & Produce Co., at the company’s new cherry packing facility in Yakima, Washington.

Northwest cherry growers are expecting a large crop, the second biggest in history.

Plath escorted Inslee and others through the new facility, explaining the optical sorting devices and other high tech elements. The new 85,000-square-feet cherry packing facility was built north of Washington Fruit’s new apple packing plant on River Road in Yakima.

The line will use two 16-lane, electronic sorters to size fruit and sort for internal and external defects. Packing capacity will be 20 tons of fruit per hour, double the capacity of the company’s old line. (Read: High-tech cherry packing facility debuts)

Inslee has deep ties to the growing community, having lived in Selah, Washington, for 18 years and as a lawyer representing Tree Top grower cooperative.

Northwest cherry growers’ “Round 2”  forecast compiled in May predicted a fresh cherry crop of 20.7 million boxes this season for the states of Washington, Oregon, Utah, Montana, and Idaho.

That would be the second-largest crop ever, behind the 23 million boxes harvested in 2012 and ahead of the 20.5 million boxes harvested in 2009.

Washington Fruit was founded in 1916 by Fred B. Plath.

Governor visits new line as cherry harvest begins

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is given a tour of a new cherry packing line at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. by company president Rick Plath on June 6, 2014, in Yakima, Washington. The state-of-the-art cherry line was in its third full day of operation. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Governor visits new line as cherry harvest begins

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is given a tour of a new cherry packing line at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. by company president Rick Plath on June 6, 2014, in Yakima, Washington. The state-of-the-art cherry line was in its third full day of operation. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Governor visits new line as cherry harvest begins

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is given a tour of a new cherry packing line at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. by company president Rick Plath on June 6, 2014, in Yakima, Washington. The state-of-the-art cherry line was in its third full day of operation. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Governor visits new line as cherry harvest begins

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is given a tour of a new cherry packing line at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. by company president Rick Plath on June 6, 2014, in Yakima, Washington. The state-of-the-art cherry line was in its third full day of operation. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Governor visits new line as cherry harvest begins

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is given a tour of a new cherry packing line at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. by company president Rick Plath on June 6, 2014, in Yakima, Washington. The state-of-the-art cherry line was in its third full day of operation. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Governor visits new line as cherry harvest begins

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is given a tour of a new cherry packing line at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. by company president Rick Plath on June 6, 2014, in Yakima, Washington. The state-of-the-art cherry line was in its third full day of operation. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Governor visits new line as cherry harvest begins

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is given a tour of a new cherry packing line at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. by company president Rick Plath on June 6, 2014, in Yakima, Washington. The state-of-the-art cherry line was in its third full day of operation. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

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Washington Governor Jay Inslee is given a tour of a new cherry packing line at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. by company president Rick Plath on June 6, 2014, in Yakima, Washington. The state-of-the-art cherry line was in its third full day of operation. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Governor visits new line as cherry harvest begins

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is given a tour of a new cherry packing line at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. by company president Rick Plath on June 6, 2014, in Yakima, Washington. The state-of-the-art cherry line was in its third full day of operation. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)