Large California Crop Not Negatively Impacting Northwest Cherry Growers

Cherry harvest continues across the Northwest, but because of the cooler weather over the past week, numbers have slowed a bit. B.J. Thurlby, President of Northwest Cherry Growers, says currently roughly 200,000 boxes are being shipped per day, but he expects that number to increase to 400,000 as hot weather returns to the area.

He added Northwest growers shipped out their one millionth box of the season this week, en route to a crop estimated to top out around 22.4 million boxes. Thurlby says one thing that is different this year, compared to rennet seasons, California is playing more of a factor in the market. He said California growers are enjoying a large crop.

“They are approaching nine million boxes shipped, which for them is pushing a record, and they’ve got a lot of fruit on the market right now, but the good news is a lot of those cherries are Bings from the Stockton/Lodi area.  The fruit is looking really good right now.  And from the consumer standpoint, I think that’s all that matters right now.”

While California is enjoying a large crop, Thurlby said it’s not negatively impacting Northwest growers. He acknowledged as California nears the end of their season, and the Northwest ramps up, there is a bit of an overlap on store shelves.

“I haven’t had any one call me and say ‘man, we’re even having a problem getting distribution because there are so many California cherries out there’.  We’re not struggling to get distribution and we’ve got good demand here.”

Thurlby noted that more and more Northwest cherries are appearing in local grocery stores, so it’s important for consumers to keep their eyes peeled.

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