Northwest cherries records all-time best June volume

07/07/2014 10:05:00 PM
Mike Hornick

A monthly record 10.3 million boxes of cherries shipped from the region in June, according to Yakima, Wash.-based Northwest Cherry Growers.

The amount more than doubled the June 2012 tally of 4.7 million boxes — part of that year’s record crop.

Demand outpaced supply on most varieties and sizes, according to the group.

Overall frontline pricing was down 22% heading into the Fourth of July holiday, with dark sweet cherry advertised prices averaging $3.06 per pound. Northwest Cherry Growers was urging further retail promotions and increased display space.

Rainfall in the last week of June caused some splitting of Oregon cherries, but damage varied by grower.

“It depends on where you were at,” said LeRoy Nickerson, a grower and an administrator at the Oregon Sweet Cherry Commission. “Probably somewhere around 10% was lost.”

Losses would have been worse had Northwest cherries not started production early — like many West Coast crops.

“Washington is well over half picked,” Nickerson said. “Most of where their rain hit was in the Yakima Valley, and that was mostly picked. Areas like Wenatchee were still real good.”

In Oregon, damage appeared hit or miss. The upper Hood River Valley was largely untouched, Nickerson said. The Dalles received minimal rainfall and might have suffered 5% splits on some varieties.

“In Hood River we got good rain right in the middle of my rainiers, about two weeks before I normally pick them,” he said July 7. “But it was only one night that did it and it hasn’t rained since. In fact it’s hot now.”

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