Late Chilean cherry arrivals to U.S. extend season until March

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Late Chilean cherry arrivals to U.S. extend season until March

Chilean cherries are expected to remain on U.S. supermarket shelves for longer than usual. Importers say that’s due to Chile’s late start to harvest, but also thanks to varieties that are expanding the season.

Usually, Chilean cherry exports to the growing U.S. market end in mid-February. This year the late deal will see shipments arriving at U.S. ports until the week of March 15.  

“We want to let customers know that there are still fresh cherries arriving,” says Victor Arriagada, managing director at Forever Fresh LLC.  

Forever Fresh operates only roofed farms at high elevations in Nahuelbuta, located in the south of Chile, as well as Galvarino.  

This season, the peak in shipments occurred during weeks 3,4, and 5.  Usually, the peak occurs between weeks 51 and 1, a testament to a season that started late due to weather issues during the Chilean winter, with heavy rain that affected the earlier varieties. 

“The late deal can be explained both by the late start to the season, but also by the fact that our farms in the south of Chile are growing, with young trees of new varieties including Reginas and Sweethearts, which means that up to the end of the season, we are exporting very high-quality cherries to the U.S.,” Arriagada said.  

Evan Myers, managing director at Forever Fresh told that for the last three years, they have been investing in new varieties that show better returns for their growers, especially during the later part of the season.  

“We expect in coming years that the Chilean season will definitely expand into week 8 and hopefully we can supply supermarkets until March 15,” Myers said.  

Quality and condition 

Both directors of the company say the quality and condition of Chilean cherries this season have been “very good.” 

“Earlier in the season, and during peak weeks, some varieties had a few issues. However, these late varieties that are coming in have amazing color and size,” Arriagada said. 

He added that consumer trends show a growing demand for bigger fruit, especially jumbo-sized fruit.  

“In the past, Chile used to send large and XL-sized fruit, but now customers are looking for that bigger fruit,” he says.  

Final volumes and initial projections

At the beginning of the season, the industry projected that exports to the U.S. would be down 30% due to the late start and the rough winter weather conditions.  

However, Myers said, “It seems that towards the end of January, the Chilean industry recovered and there was a lot of late volume during that period so the numbers will range pretty similar to previous years.” 

He added that Forever Fresh's volumes should be even higher than in the previous season.  

“I think we will between 650,000-700,000 cartons for the season, meaning we will be the biggest importer in the U.S. by far,” Arriagada said. 


Prices have remained stable during the season, mainly due to the unexpected supply throughout late 2023 and early 2024.  

“As our volumes grow, we have to work with our customers on a price that will keep the fruit moving, making prices consistent for the consumers with good returns for growers and retailers,” Arriagada said.


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