The Northwest cherry industry looks set for a banner year, with shipments reaching a record for fruit movement in June, according to the Northwest Cherry Growers (NWCG) trade association.
Shipments have been averaging 500,000 cartons a day throughout June and into July, with virtually no drop-off in demand after the 4 July Independence Day promotions.
“Reports are that the floors were all but clean in the packinghouse cold rooms after the holiday,” B J Thurlby of NWCG told Asiafruit on 10 July. “The industry shipped approximately 1.7m cartons over the long-holiday weekend, where 500,000 is typical.
“To date, we’re at around 13.5m cartons and fruit quality looks outstanding in the market.”
Warm weather has been advancing the maturity of the Northwest cherry crop, with Thurlby projecting a second volume peak around 15 July, before dropping off towards the end of the month.
“Based on submissions [from the field], the potential fresh crop estimate has been adjusted slightly to 21.3m equivalent boxes,” said Thurlby, which, if accurate, would set the 2014 season for the second largest in industry history, trailing only the 2012 crop of 22.96m cartons.
Korea set to break 1m-carton mark
Northwest cherry exports have been shining for the industry so far this season, with Korea leading all offshore markets with 720,000 cartons imported, according to NWCG data.
“Our expectations were that Korea would hit the 750,000-carton mark this year,” said Thurlby. “It looks very likely they’ll exceed one million now.”
Following Korea, China/Hong Kong has imported 680,000 cartons, with Japan and Australia/New Zealand receiving 285,000 and 130,000 cartons respectively.