Northwest Cherries and Inflation Pt 2

Northwest Cherries and Inflation Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson with today’s Fruit Grower Report. The rising cost of production hit cherry growers hard last year. With a commonly advertised price of $5.99 per pound, it gave consumers a tough decision when other fruits, like grapes, cost considerably less.

BJ Thurlby, President of Northwest Cherry Growers, says even his wife might buy grapes if the difference was $4 per pound …

THURLBY … “I say that with a smile because, you know, that we’re actually eating cherries in the Thurlby household, but when it comes down to the value system that’s what most people are looking at. And this made for a challenge this last summer. It was high retails versus lower retails on other substitution items like strawberries, grapes and blueberries.”

But cherries, Thurlby says have a pretty narrow window of availability …

THURLBY … “That’s part of our magic and that’s what we always pound into the retailers when we talk to them. We remind them that this is your one opportunity to cash in and sometimes it’s running cherries off at a break-even price, because some people are coming into the store just to buy cherries. And that’s very common in the produce department for these seasonal items to really be drivers for traffic into the department.”

So, Thurlby says, fingers crossed …

THURLBY ... “We’ve got that kind of product and it’s wonderful that we have it. And I think if we have a full crop this year, we won’t see that same spread that we saw last year. I mean that just added a challenge, another level of challenges to everything the growers went through last year just trying to get any cherries off the trees.”

Thurlby says, weather-wise, the transition into winter was pretty smooth so things are looking good, so far.

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