The US Northwest cherry industry is in for a short but 'vintage' crop, with the majority of shipments expected from June to mid-July.
For the first time, Northwest cherries will be shipped to Australia in May, with 4,000 cartons arriving in Australia before the end of the month.
The industry estimates that across the five-state region, the crop will be down 4 per cent on last year’s 19.3m box crop, according to Northwest Cherry Growers' BJ Thurlby.
Aside from the Bing variety, which didn't set well this year, Thurlby said most other varieties appear to have full crops and should see a packout of 18.4m boxes, which would mean the industry is in for its fifth largest crop to-date.
A ‘flash’ cherry bloom resulted in one of the shortest bloom durations in the industry, which Thurlby said traditionally means consistent fruit size, sugar and flavour across the tree, with many in the industry calling the 2016 season a “vintage crop”.
Aside from some high-elevation varieties, the Northwest cherry crop is expected to wind down quickly from mid-July.