Early season crop boasts uniform colour, large size and high Brix levels  


Washington-based Monson Fruit Chelan cherries 

Harvest season has begun for Northwest cherries with early varieties including Chelan showing uniform colour and favourable size and quality, according to Northwest Cherry Growers.  

The current crop is Brixing at 20 per cent and higher and over 80 per cent is shipping at 10.5 row and larger. Historically, this size has led to repeat purchases in both the domestic and export markets. 

The region is currently shipping over 200,000 boxes a day with a season total of just under 1m boxes (20lb equivalents) so far. Shipments are expected to exceed 300,000 boxes per day by the end of June, Northwest Cherry Growers said in an update. This is in keeping with the pre-season shipping estimate.  

“The good news is that the later varieties like Bing and Skeena appear to have moderate to average sized crops on the trees. The lighter sets have led to excellent quality so far and should remain the status quo across the season,” the update said.

Windy weather has caused some damage to Rainiers and growers expect the total crop to be down to 1.3m boxes (15lb equivalents) compared to a normal crop of just over 2m boxes. 

California shipments are now shipping under 50,000 (18lb equivalents) boxes per day and the predicted overlap with Northwest cherries has been smooth, Northwest Cherry Growers said. The current shipments bring California’s season total to 9.4m boxes shipped – close to the original estimate of 10m boxes.  

As part of harvest activities, Northwest Cherry Growers hosted a group of retail and wholesale buyers from China. The visit was facilitated by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service from the Shanghai consulate and included a tour through packing facilities and orchards.