The Northwest sweet cherry harvest has begun its seasonal descent, and the industry estimates a volume totaling more than 190,000 tons, or 19 million 20-pound box equivalents, by the time it wraps up in late August, Northwest cherry industry officials said July 30.
If the prediction holds, it would line up closely with the 188,000 tons called for in early June, even after a season marked by rain, wind and other curveball weather events that often left sales desks scrambling to find enough cherries to meet demand.
“Mother Nature certainly impacted the daily volume curve of cherry shipments from the Northwest, but with over 18 million boxes packed and shipped, it appears that the crop will finish near … pre-season expectations,” according to a crop estimate on July 30 from the Northwest Cherry Growers, the Yakima, Washington, organization that collectively markets fruit from five Western states.
Harvest should continue through Aug. 20 and in the end reach a volume over 190,000 tons, B.J. Thurlby, president of Northwest Cherry Growers, said this week.
Harvest has all but wrapped up on yellow cherries, which will finish at about 1.9 million 15-pound boxes, or 14,250 tons, significantly lower than the 2018 and 2019 volumes, according to the report.
—by Ross Courtney