Cherries Bad and Good Pt 1

Cherries Bad and Good Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson with today’s Fruit Grower Report. In what was looking to be a pretty good year for Northwest cherry growers, a slow start and extended California cherry season has led to a lot of challenges for Northwest growers.

Northwest Cherry Growers President, BJ Thurlby says the delays created scheduling headaches …

THURLBY … “You know, the key to a successful cherry season is to begin with momentum and get momentum going forward. And you do that by hard promotion. And our growers were very cognizant this year of, well, you know, California’s going to be late and we’re not really going to get going until the middle of June which, you know, is exactly how things played out.”

But with California-Northwest overlap, Thurlby says there were just too many cherries …

THURLBY … “Our crop estimate went from 22 million down to 19 million and that was 100% predicated on Fieldmen telling us, we didn’t pick whatever, 20% of the cherries or 25% of the cherries in the window because they either didn’t have belt time or they didn’t have the cherries in the orchard, it just didn’t financially make sense for the grower to pick.”

That, Thurlby says was the harsh reality …

THURLBY … “Once a grower picks, he’s in, or she, is in for .35 cent per pound just to pay the labor to pick. And so, that’s kind of where the world was, where there was a lot of math and a lot of economics being done where people were trying to determine if they should pick or not.”

Tune in tomorrow for the one bright spot in this year’s cherry season.

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