Eat More Cherries! A Record Sweet Cherry Harvest Is Forecasted
Monday, July 31, 2017
What can you do to support farmers this summer? Eat more cherries. The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) predicts a record harvest this year.
The USDA forecasts that the 2017 U.S. sweet cherry crop will reach 432,760 tons, up 24 percent from last year and the second largest crop on record. And recent estimates by the Five State Cherry Commission say that the 2017 Pacific Northwest sweet cherry crop could easily exceed the 23.2 million-box record set in 2014, making it the largest crop on record!
Photos of Washington State cherries were taken by Kris Thomas, Bayer Senior Sales Specialist.
The good year is thanks to high production in Washington State, Oregon, and California. Favorable pollination conditions, lack of damaging freeze and hail events, and minimal splitting just before harvest due to rain helped ensure a bountiful cherry harvest.
Not All Good for Growers
Unfortunately, a crop of high-quality, abundant cherries is a double-edged sword for growers. The largest crop on record sounds good, but it is the old law of supply and demand that becomes the problem.
The early and late producers/varieties of cherries do very well. These are the premium cherries that go into the belly of a 747 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and end up in a Tokyo grocery for many dollars a pound 48 hours later.
However, in the middle of the season, supply of this perishable fruit exceeds demand and prices are depressed. I recall a year that entire blocks were left unpicked simply because the value of the fruit would not cover picking and packing costs.
Eat More Cherries
The bottom line – consumers shouldn’t have any trouble finding some great-tasting sweet cherries this summer, so help cherry growers make the most of their record crop by enjoying more delicious cherries this summer.
DYK? Sweet cherries make up the vast majority of U.S. fresh-market cherries, while tart or ‘sour’ cherries are mainly processed and used in cakes, pies, and tarts or dried for additional uses. Via USDA ERS