Freshly washed cherries roll through the packing process at Blue Bird, Inc.’s, Wenatchee, Washington, facility on June 16, 2017. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Now that cherry harvest is in full swing, growers have updated their estimate of the crop size.
Orchardists now anticipate pulling 245,000 tons — about 24.5 million 20-pound box equivalents — off trees this year, according to a periodic report from Northwest Cherry Growers, a Yakima, Washington, promotional group that represents growers in five states.
If that holds, it would be a record. The current high crop volume came in 2014, when orchards produced 23.2 million boxes.
The estimates are compiled by a field team representing 19 of the industry’s largest shippers. The number frequently changes with weather conditions as the fruit ripens.
Blush variety Rainier is expected to finish around 1.8 million 15-pound boxes this year.
Cool spring weather has pushed back the Northwest harvest later than usual, but it has come right at the end of California’s ample sweet cherry season that saw 9.5 million 18-pound equivalent boxes, proving a smooth transition for the marketplace. The earliest Northwest orchards started harvest on June 8.
Ross Courtney is an associate editor for Good Fruit Grower, writing articles and taking photos for the print magazine and website. He has a degree from Pacific Lutheran University. -- Follow the author -- Contact: 509-930-8798 or email.