Jose Gurrola pulls leaves from cherries he harvested in Prosser, Washington, during a record-breaking 2014 Northwest crop. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Jose Gurrola pulls leaves from cherries he harvested in Prosser, Washington, during a record-breaking 2014 Northwest crop. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

For Northwest cherry growers, the season has been quick to harvest and has now reached a record-breaking volume, blowing through 23 million boxes shipped.

Northwest Cherry Growers reported today the previous season-ending record of 22.96 million, 20-pound equivalent boxes, set in 2012, was surpassed this week with crops still being harvested.

The growers point out the 2014 numbers of 23,255,014 boxes shipped are sure to climb with cherries still coming off near the Canadian boarder and in northern Oregon.

Read the rest of the Northwest Cherry Growers release below.

Through Tuesday August 5th, the shipping numbers from the five Northwest Cherry Grower states totaled just over 23 million 20-pound equivalent boxes (23,255,014) through a brisk 67 days of shipping!  This is a new record for the Northwest cherry industry, exceeding the previous record set in 2012 of 22.96 million boxes.  A quick start and a hard run has led to a quicker decline in volume at the end of a season.  Over the past week, daily shipments have dropped to less than 100,000 boxes per day for the first time since early June. Limited shipments are expected to continue for the next two weeks, and at that point the 2014 season should be near complete.

Remaining supplies are in the hands of a few shippers in Washington, Oregon and Montana.  Cherries currently being harvested are near or around Wenatchee Heights, Stemilt Hill and near the Canadian border in Washington.  Cherries are also still being picked around Flat Head Lake in Montana and near Mount Hood, Oregon.  We are still seeing excellent pressures and fruit sugars ranging in the 18 to 25 brix range.

Though average daily shipments for Rainier cherries has dwindled to just over a load a day, there are still small displays in most markets this week.  The 2014 Rainier (Yellow) cherry harvest is down to our last few orchards, but the total volume currently stands at 2,059,782 boxes (15-pound equivalent), which makes it the second largest crop on record behind 2012’s 2.23 million boxes.

In the US, retailers are maintaining their overall commitment to the late season crop.  Northwest Cherries made up 6% of the overall domestic ad space and were on ad at over 13,000 stores over the past week.  Red Cherries promotional pricing averaged $3.16 per pound.  On the international front, 2014 represents the first time the Northwest Cherries Growers have seen three export markets exceed 1 million boxes!

Canada (2.6 million), China (1.8 million) and Korea (1.1 million) have had astounding success as destinations in 2014.  Other key export markets include Taiwan (540,000 boxes), Japan (337,000), Australia/NZ (241,000), Southeast Asia (227,000), Mexico (139,000), and the United Kingdom (124,000).

We continue to pursue an individualized outreach and follow-up procedure with every cherry health story and blog post that comes to our attention, and will maintain our national in-store radio program for another week.

Overall national messaging has fully transitioned into the “Buy Now, Freeze Now” and Get-Them-While-You-Can messages, and will be supported through digital channels for the remainder of the season.