After a fairly slow start thanks to cooler temperatures, the rate of the cherry harvest is starting to increase. According to Northwest Cherry Growers, 1.9 million boxes have been shipped. Quality and color remain “exceptional”, but sizing has been a challenge for some growers. The anticipation is the harvest volume will continue to increase in the coming weeks.
The Round 3 Estimate places this year’s crop at 22.4 million boxes.
In addition to cooler temperatures, many growers reported isolated showers, and even thunderstorms over the past week. But thanks to those cooler temperatures, many growers had an opportunity to dry their fruit. But now, high pressure is parked off of the coast of Washington and Oregon, allowing for clear skies and warmer temperatures, with highs in some locations expected to top out in the triple digits in the coming days, which is expected to bring about an uptick in harvest momentum.
Optical sorting technology has produced a more uniform consumer pack, which ultimately means those consumers taking home a bag of Northwest cherries will find that dessert quality they’re seeking.
The 2021 Rainier crop is off to a great start, with demand especially high for the super-sweet variety. Winds produce a particular challenge for yellow cherry growers, but at this point we are still expecting to pick and ship a little over 2 million 15-pound boxes this season.
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