The Northwest cherry industry is looking well positioned to meet its crop estimate of 23m cartons.
Last Friday, harvest was predicted to kick off over the following few days and will be easing into full swing this week. It will take the industry around two weeks to begin reaching the 200,000 carton-a-day mark.
Following a growers meeting in May which collected predicted yield data, industry volunteers have gathered on-the-ground orchard data for an official crop estimate.
The estimate came in at 23m 20lb (9kg) cartons, after a series of four estimates covering nearly three-quarters of the industry’s orchards.
Field reports have come back with instances of fewer flowers per bud, which would typically translate into larger and better fruit as the tree’s growing energy is distributed into fewer cherries. The Northwest Cherry Growers Association noted that the larger fruit will impact total production and overall shipping velocities by region and variety.
Despite a low yielding season for the California cherry crop, the Northwest was spared heavy winter damage.
In the month of June, the association predicts 9m cartons of cherries will be shipped out, ahead of last year’s 7.7m. The Yakima Valley has warmed up early this year, meaning there will be four Northwest regions shipping simultaneously.