Thurlby Encouraged By Progress In Asia

Good news can be challenging to find during the coronavirus pandemic, but cherry growers may be in line for some positive news. As Asian markets begin a return somewhat to normal, growers are excited about the possibilities of shipping sweet cherries across the Pacific.

“It’s certainly not going to be an export market like we would normally see without a pandemic going on in the world, but there’s a lot of positives and we’re seeing recovery and business taking off in China, Taiwan, Korea, and in Vietnam,” said B.J. Thurlby, president of Northwest Cherry Growers. And he noted that Vietnam has done a good job managing the virus.

When it comes to the cherry itself, there is a limited shelf life. He said the big question now is flying from west coast airports.

“But, Seattle is obviously our first choice and we feel like with these freighters coming in here it’s going to end being kind of a win for the growers I think, that we were really worried about having enough lift. And, as we find out that we’re going to have a couple of freighters a day available to ship cherries to these key markets, for us it’s a big win and we thought it was worth talking about.”

Thurlby said shipping six million boxes to Asia this year is realistic, which is not far off of the five year average of seven to eight million boxes shipped.

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