Cherry harvest estimate down

Cherry harvest estimate down

YAKIMA, WA — Cherry growers could see a lot less crop coming from their trees this season.

Northwest Cherry Growers says a 20 milllion box estimate now sits around 18.3 million as of this week — after lowering it to 19 million just over two weeks ago.

A warm winter, coupled with a hot spring caused many varieties to mature a lot sooner than expected — a half million are expected to be shipped in may alone.

However, some varieties, like the popular Bing cherries, are yet to be seen.

Despite the unusually warm spring, some weather anomalies like sudden rainfall and wind could be damaging the crop — even slowing it down.

That keeps many workers busy a lot longer as they wait for it to catch up.

“When you have pollination happening and between 65 and 80 days later, you have fruit shipping off to the market, any little weather influence there, any hiccup, any variation can create a big ripple down the road,” said James Michael from Nortwest Cherry Growers.

Despite the adjustment, harvesting 18 million boxes of cherries would still make it the 5th largest harvest in the regions history.