Routine June rains have selectively spared some cherry orchards entirely while causing significant damage in others, according to today’s (Friday’s) crop update from Northwest Cherry Growers.
June rains, which can cause ripening cherries to swell and split, in the 600-square-mile Northwest cherry production areas often are highly localized, walloping one grower and leaving a neighbor completely dry.
B.J. Thurlby, president of Northwest Cherry Growers, called this year’s rain problems “routine” in an email to the Good Fruit Grower.
“Every season it seems, we experience a rogue weather pattern or two,” Thurlby said in the crop update. “As we saw in 2013, a series of cloudbursts over parts of the Northwest last weekend skipped some orchards entirely while damaging 5 percent in others and upwards of 40 percent in a few.”
However, even many growers hit by rain were spared the brunt of damage because wind and mild temperatures followed the late spring and early summer storms, the crop update said.
Northwest cherry growers expect to harvest a total of 18.4 million 20-pound boxes this year, the update said.
The Northwest Cherry Growers, based in Yakima, Washington, represents cherry growers in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah.