Northwest cherry growers anticipate a good season

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Northwest cherry growers anticipate a good season

The harvest of Northwest-grown cherries has begun with growers suggesting the quality of the fruit will be "excellent."

Talking about this season's crop, B.J. Thurlby, president of the Northwest Cherry Growers, said, "We are seeing cherries well spread throughout the tree canopy with fewer large clusters than we saw in 2023. Combined with the warm weather, volumes are ramping up. Historically, these types of fruit sets have led to big, beautiful cherries and excellent shelf quality."

Northwest-grown cherries are harvested by more than 2,500 growers across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana, who together account for over 70% of the fresh cherries found in stores from mid-June through early September.

Brenda Thomas, president of Orchard View Cherries from Oregon, told that this season feels much more normal than the previous one. 

"We’re back into a more typical rhythm with California, meaning there isn’t a big overlap between their season and ours in the Pacific Northwest like there was last year," said Thomas. 

She explained that this allows both regions to have their time to shine and helps avoid market saturation.

"We’re in the clear as we look toward picking this week, which is setting us up well for market entry," she added. 

At Orchard View Cherries they expect excellent quality cherries, with higher sugar content and larger sizes.


Regarding the weather for this season's crop, Thomas said it has been perfect for cherry growing with warm days and cool nights.

"This combination is ideal for cherries to color and size nicely. The spread between different varieties of cherries is also looking good, and we expect to maintain that throughout the season," Thomas explained. 

Cherries are expected to develop high brix due to the weather. 

The peak of the season will be the week before the Fourth of July, with the end of June marking the beginning of this peak period.

Overcoming challenges

Last season, Thomas said the market didn't move very well. 

"When fruit doesn’t move, it affects every aspect of our operation from the packing house all the way to the orchard as we need to slow down our processes," she said. 

However, this year they are more optimistic and excited to go full throttle and keep things moving smoothly. Even though it is still very early in the season, she said they have "good vibes and a positive outlook on this season."


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