Cherries in the COVID-19 World Pt 1

Cherries in the COVID-19 World Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. The curve may be flattening a bit, but there’s still plenty of questions for our food producers as coronavirus restrictions continue to impact our lives.

Northwest Cherry Growers president BJ Thurlby says a big question for them is how consumers will respond …

THURLBY … “Traditionally, summer is a great time to have a product because people are out doing the rounds, spending money and whether it’s a picnic on a Saturday or a bar-b-q on Thursday night, the world has kind of changed here and there’s a percentage of people are not going to be doing any of that.”

But, Thurlby says by the time cherries hit the market in early June, where will we be then …

THURLBY … “You know, people have to eat, so at some point people are going to be buying stuff, but we just have a lot of questions. And, one of them that really resonates hard is when you look at who buys cherries, when they buy cherries, 70% of our sales in the grocery store are what we call “impulse.” So, we’re worried about our fruit being up front or being enough people in the stores to actually take this fruit away.”

Other questions, Thurlby says involve getting the cherries to the customers …

THURLBY … “The big one is, cherries, unlike most fruit and vegetable items, are so perishable that they need to be flown. So, if we’re going to China, they have to be flown there. If we’re going to Taiwan, they have to be flown there. So, one of our big worries is how much lift will be there and we know we’ve got some countries that area going to be a real challenge.”

Listen tomorrow for more on the upcoming cherry season.


BL: Welcome back to another “Fruit Bites” brought to you by Valent U.S.A. With us again is Valent’s Allison Walston. And this week Allison, let’s talk about the current status of apples and cherries in the PNW?

AW: People are reporting that cherries might have what’s called a flash bloom. The bloom happens over a very short time period because temperatures are warm.

BL: Why is a flash bloom concerning?

AW: The flowers dry out too quickly and the bees don’t have enough time to pollinate to make cherries. Applying ethylene blockers to extend the pollination window of the flower is helpful in these types of springs.

BL: What’s going on with apples?

AW: Early powdery mildew applications are going out. This is helpful to have preventative applications, so the new flush of leaves isn’t infected. Having all that extra inoculum in a few months can damage the apples by causing russeting. Prebloom sprays can really help to decrease the pest pressure so you’re not having to catch up later in the season.

BL: Well, thanks Allison. Join us again next time for Fruit Bites, brought to you by Valent. Until then, I’m Bob Larson.

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