Cherry Outlook Pt 2

Cherry Outlook Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. We talked yesterday about this year's cherry harvest, just underway, and how it stacks up with last year's record crop.

Northwest Cherry Growers president BJ Thurlby says it will be a few months before we know for sure ...

THURLBY-10 = 18 ... "In that time period, we have regular varieties of cherries like Bing which are going to be starting harvest here in probably the next seven days. And then we'll, we have late varieties like Skeena which are a variety that comes on and matures much later than Bing. So, we'll have those right up until the middle of August if not longer."

Thurlby says one challenge growers have had to deal with in recent harvests is finding pickers ...

THURLBY-11 = 14 ... "Drive down any road, you'll see 'Harvesters Wanted,' you'll go to any packing facility you'll see 'Workers Needed' and I'm seeing signs all over the place, so the reality is we're short on labor and that's kind of the world we've been living in for the last five or six years."

Labor aside, Thurlby says we're going to have a beautiful cherry crop ...

THURLBY-12 = 24 ... "Here in another week, you're going to start seeing them showing up in the stores and we've had optimal growing conditions in May. It's been a beautiful May over in Eastern Washington. We've had lots of days in the 70's, some lower 80's, and we've got sugar buildup in this fruit. And, when we start the season that way, that's a huge positive. Now we just kind of sit back and harvest it and hope that Mother Nature doesn't bring in a rain storm or a hail storm or the next tragedy that can happen if you're in agriculture."

Thurlby says estimates for this year call for 23-million boxes 20-pound boxes will be shipped to about 40 countries, down from last year's 26.5-million boxes.

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