Northwest cherry shipments should kick off in early June, with peak loading taking place in July, although there should be significant supply in August. This means a more traditional shipping season.
An official forecast has yet to be issued but a quality full crop of about 20 million boxes is expected by some observers. In 2016 NW cherry shipments totaled 21 million boxes, and a record volume of 23 million boxes were loaded in 2014.
The Northwest had one of the coldest winters in nearly a quarter of a century and this will lead to a later start to the season than a year ago. Cherry picking should start the first week of June, compared with a May 15 start date in 2016. The 2016 season was the earliest ever for Northwest cherries.
The 2017 shipping season should have peak cherry shipments during July, although good volume of fruit is expected in August. The past two season there has been about 200,000 to 500,000 boxes shipped in August. This season around 2 million or more boxes should be shipped in August.
By comparison, California cherry shipments should be around 7 million to 8 million boxes (see last week’s report), meaning little overlap with Northwest cherry shipments.
Most Northwest cherries originate out of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana. However, 95 percent of the production comes from Washington and Oregon.
The later start date means there will be more fruit in July this season, along with good volumes in August. While there will a good amount of fruit available for the Fourth of July holidays, volumes would undoubtedly be lower than last year due to the later season. Last year there were 12 million boxes shipped in June, but this year there will probably be 7 or 8 million boxes shipped during June.
About 30 percent of the NW cherry crop will be exported this season, with a majority of the fruit destined for Canada.
Good, fairly normal apricot shipments are expected this season, getting underway around the third week of June out of Washington.
Washington apples and pears – grossing about $4000 to Dallas.