Cherry shipments to China seem to be moving again, just in time for the Northwest’s annual harvest.

In the wake of trade disputes between China and the United States, Chinese import officials this spring had been slowing down cherry shipments over phytosanitary concerns.

That seems to be past, said B.J. Thurlby, president of the Northwest Cherry Growers, a Yakima, Washington, based organization that markets sweet cherries for the growers in five Northwest states, in a statement Friday, June 1, 2018. Shipments are moving at a reasonable clip again now.

“The situation with China appears to be easing in time for our start of harvest next week,” Thurlby said.

Last year, China became the Northwest cherry industry’s top export market.

Growers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah anticipate picking 23 million 20-pound boxes of sweet cherries this year, said the statement, dubbed the Round 3 crop estimate. The association makes periodic harvest predictions as the cherry crop blooms and ripens each year.

Growers should begin harvest modest volumes this weekend, but typically take 10 to 14 days to reach full tilt.

Read our previous cherry story.

– By Ross Courtney