Extreme heat takes out portion of Northwest cherry crop

An extreme heat wave damaged cherries grown in Washington's Yakima Valley and the Northwest in late June and early July. The high temperature reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit in Yakima on June 29, an all-time record. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the heat caused issues such as sunburn and stunted growth that made the cherries unsuitable for the fresh cherry market. Many cherries were left on trees while others were picked but processed. Northwest Cherry Growers is still assessing the damage, but President B.J. Thurlby estimates that about 20% of the overall crop was lost due to heat conditions. Much of the loss came in the Yakima Valley, where cherries were about to be picked.

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Washington cherry pickers work to save crop in heat wave

Orchardists in Central Washington are trying to save the cherry crop as a heat wave grips the region. They're using canopies, deploying sprinklers and sending out workers in the night to harvest cherries. Temperatures are expected to exceed 100 degrees this week, with a predicted high near 115 degrees on Tuesday. The heat wave hit as Washington’s cherries are ripening. Cherry growers are moving 500,000 boxes a day, said B.J. Thurlby, president of the Washington State Fruit Commission. So far, the cherries appear to have good color and sugar. If the cherries get too hot, they will sunburn and dry out.