Aggressive Cherry Harvest

Aggressive Cherry Harvest

Aggressive Cherry Harvest

I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

Cherry growers here in the state have been harvesting now for the last month and out of that time only four or five days have brought harvest affecting weather. NW Cherry Growers’ BJ Thurlby says that the weather has been outstanding for cherry harvest, which has helped pickers to move right along.

Thurlby: We are picking aggressively and the industry itself has ramped up in a hurry. This weather we’ve had has been pretty good. We had a little bit of rain, but overall very minimal damage where it did rain. A lot of growers are telling me that they’re thinking 1 or 2 % - I have had some growers say they’ve had 10 or 15 % damage - on a certain block that’s close to ripeness, but the weather during that rain period stayed cool. Overall that means weather’s been outstanding for the cherry growers.

Roughly 6 1/2 million boxes have been shipped and demand appears to be good. Thurlby says that headed into the 4th the market remains steady.

THURLBY: I’m happy with where demand is at. We’ve still got a big push. There’s plenty of opportunity out there in the market. There’s numerous retail chains here in the United States that are just getting ready to go great guns on cherries and I’m really feeling good about the fruit that we’re putting out there and the sell through that we’re seeing.

As far as competitors in the cherry market Thurlby has this to say.

THURLBY: We kind of have the runway right now and we’re going to have it all the way through July, so that’s exciting. You know, our biggest challenge is making sure our product is out there and getting the same attention that grapes are getting and strawberries are getting and blueberries are getting. And by all accounts, and looking at the fruit and looking at a broad picture of the United States and Canada and the world, cherries are just now starting to take center stage and should hold that stage for the next three or four weeks.

That’s Washington Ag Today.

I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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