Posts Tagged “Northwest cherry shipments”

Improved Northwest Cherry Shipments are Seen by Shipper

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Washington Fruit Growers’s of Yakima, WA began cherry shipments in early June and will continue through most of July and possibly into early August.

Good volume with cherries is expected this season as the company packs both organic and conventional fruit, with packing locations at its main plant at Washington Fruit & Produce in Yakima and the other being at Dallesport, WA., closer to Oregon on the Columbia River.

Washington Fruit Growers expects to pack a larger volume of cherries compared with a year ago.

Market conditions caused fruit to be diverted from the fresh market in 2023.

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Longer Season for NW Cherry Shipments are Seen by Some Observers

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Some cherry shippers in the Pacific Northwest expect their 2024 season to be the longest and largest in the region.

Superfresh Growers, one of the largest producers in Washington, announced their cherries should be in season as early as late May and extend into August.

The Washington cherry season usually ships from June to late August. 

Last year, the company added a third cherry facility, which they say will enhance their ability to deliver cherries to retailers and consumers alike. The company grows cherries from the Canadian border to Hood River, OR.

“Superfresh Growers is proud to uphold our position as the Northwest’s longest and largest cherry crop for the past two seasons. Anticipate nothing less as we gear up for another successful harvest,” said Destiny Nash, Cherry Sales Lead. 

“The addition of the third packing line last year optimized our turn-around times from orchard to retail partners. With a notable 30% increase in production capabilities, we are poised for continued growth and success.” 

The latest census from the USDA shows the state had 43,429 acres of cherry production in 2022.

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CMI Set to Ship 20% of NW Cherries this Season Following Acquisition

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CMI Orchards of Wenatchee, WAS is poised to make waves this summer, adding significant volume and expanded seasonal availability to complement their expansive cherry portfolio.

CMI’s cherry season is expected to start sometime towards late May or early June.

Bob Mast, President of CMI, adds that the acquisition of Starr Ranch growers in November 2023 substantially bolstered CMI’s cherry supply with supply partners Custom Apple Packers in Wenatchee WA, and Diamond Fruit Growers in Hood River, OR.

“By welcoming Starr Ranch into the CMI family, we’re set to handle about 20% of all cherries grown in the Northwest,” says Mast. “This isn’t just a small step—it’s a giant leap that increases our cherry supply by 70% and expands the time we are able to be in the market.  We’ll be able to start the season earlier and keep going later. This move positions us to become one of the strongest, most significant players in the cherry arena.”

Jim Thomas, owner of Starr Ranch growers, highlights the importance of the partnership. “This alliance brought together two distinguished companies to address market needs,” he states. “Retailers have been seeking earlier cherry availability and an extended season. By merging our strengths, we are now equipped to fulfill these requests, providing our customers with high-quality cherries throughout the entire Northwest cherry season.”

CMI’s impressive portfolio includes Red, Rainier, organic, Jumbo XXL®,  Skylar Rae® and Strawberry cherries, and CMI’s flagship American Dream® program for merchandising around key patriotic holidays and summer promotions, Mast says. “We truly have a cherry for every shopper, every market and every demographic,” he added. “And now with our expanded seasonal availability, retailers can reap the rewards of cherry season for even longer.”

Joel Hewitt, CMI’s Vice President of Sales, shares that while it’s still a little too early to estimate the total production volume for Northwest cherries, the growing season is progressing nicely with minimal weather impacts to report.

“We had a few prolonged sub zero days at the tail end of winter which impacted bud development in some regions, but the extent to which this impacted the crop is not yet known. The warmer spring days we’re having could push harvest ahead by a couple of days–time will tell,” he says. “We’re hopeful for a stellar season ahead and encourage retailers to work with us on summer cherry plans well ahead of time–especially for American Dream July 4 promotions. Cherry season will be here before we know it!”

Hewitt shared that the Starr alliance added an additional cherry packing facility to the CMI family. “Having four advanced cherry packing operations means we can be more nimble and responsive to the needs of our customers, allowing us to run specialty packs and varieties in addition to our regular Red and Rainier cherry volume.”

With the largest selection of specialty cherries available in the U.S.A, being nimble is of high importance to their business, he added, sharing the technology used ensures only the highest quality cherries leave our warehouses. “Hydro-cooling, tunnel cooling, next generation optical sorting, robotic palletizers, automated packing lines–our owners have invested in the latest technology to help us deliver the very best quality we can,” Hewitt added. “This commitment to excellence is what sets CMI apart and allows our delicious Northwest cherries to shine on the produce shelf.”

CMI’s cherry season is expected to start sometime towards late May or early June.

About CMI Orchards

CMI Orchards is one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest growers, shippers and packers of premium quality conventional and organic apples, pears, and cherries. Based in Wenatchee, WA, CMI Orchards delivers outstanding fruit across the U.S.A. and exports to over 60 countries worldwide.

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Benefits of Cherries Range from being Nutritional to Providing Antioxidents for Stress, Sleep

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YAKIMA, WA — Growers in the Northwest are shipping sweet cherries now, stocking produce sections across the nation with this summertime superfruit. Loadings will continue into August.

Sweet cherries deliver a juicy burst of flavor, while boasting an abundance of nutritional benefits sure to help maintain a healthy glow all summer long.

From giving skin a boost of nourishment with rich antioxidant properties to helping reduce stress and improve sleep, sweet cherries provide a powerful punch of glow-friendly nutrition in a convenient, compact and naturally delicious package.

“This season, we are expecting a large crop of Northwest-grown sweet cherries from orchards across our five-state footprint.” said B.J. Thurlby, president of the Northwest Cherry Growers. “The larger crop will lend to more accessible pricing, with all the flavor and nutrients sweet Northwest cherries are known for. We expect sweet Northwest cherries to be available well into August.”

Sweet cherries boast an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, making them a true superfruit. Their vibrant red hue is a testament to their high antioxidant content, which helps combat harmful free radicals and promotes overall well-being. Loaded with vitamin C, sweet cherries help boost the immune system and assist in keeping skin glowing. These marvelous fruits also contain potassium, promoting heart health and contributing to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

“Sweet cherries are sure to give your skin a boost of nourishment,” said Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., RDN, CSSD, assistant professor at Central Washington University. “Look for darker varieties like Bing cherries, as they are rich in antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory benefits. These antioxidants can also help protect your skin from environmental factors, like dirt and pollution, and preserve a youthful appearance.”

Sweet cherries are a versatile fresh fruit — they can be enjoyed by the handful or incorporated into a variety of different recipes, including burgers, salsa, bruschetta, salads and even cocktails. They are also the perfect snack to pack for a cookout.

On a grocery run during the short cherry season, adding a bag of sweet Northwest cherries to the cart can fuel a summertime glow up. Fresh, sweet Northwest cherries are available now through August. Recipes, preservation tips — to maintain a glow year-round — and inspiration on incorporating sweet cherries into everyday diets can be found at:

About Northwest Cherry Growers
Founded in 1947, the Northwest Cherry Growers is a growers’ organization funded solely by self-imposed fruit assessments used to increase awareness and consumption of regionally grown stone fruits. The organization is dedicated to the promotion, education, market development and research of cherries from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana orchards.

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NW Cherry Crop is Projected to have 50% More Shipments Compared to a Year Ago

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Richland, WA – The Northwest Cherry Growers recently gathered to discuss the crop prospects for the 2023 cherry crop.

Representatives from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana have determined that the 2023 crop has great potential relative to crop volume and fruit size. As weather across the region has generally been in the 80 degree F range and it is clear that the region is seeing optimal weather for cell division for size and sugar development.

This year the first bloom in the earliest orchards began on April 8th, with full bloom coming on April 15th. The normal growth cycle for sweet cherries is 60 to 65 days from pollination to harvest. The earliest harvest is expected to fall on or near June 15th.

After reviewing degree day build up, bloom timing and potential fruit set on the trees; the industry believes that there is potential for a crop of 19.9 million 20 lb. boxes. This would constitute a 50% increase in crop size as compared to the 13.3 million box crop we saw in 2022.

CMI Orchards of Wenatchee, WA expects to have 75 percent more cherries than last season. The company will kick off the season around the middle of June. It will have peak shipments the entire month of July with the state anticipating its peak around July 12. After that, loading will start tapering off and will run until the end of August.

Cherries in the early and mid-season districts appear to have set a nice crop. Late season Northwest growers also expect to have a moderate to average crop in 2023.

The post 4th of July orchards have experienced a “flash bloom” that has resulted in some pollination issues. Some orchards that are lighter than expected – as crop load will run from 5 to 10 tons to the acre based on location. The good news for the late season offerings is growers are expecting great size and sugars!

This year’s bloom timing was a full 14 to 20 days behind the 2022 bloom pattern.

Following a down crop year in 2022, Sage Fruit Co. of Yakima, WA sees a rebound with a large cherry crop volume in 2023. The marketer’s Northwest cherry crop spans from southeastern Washington, through The Dalles and Hood River in Oregon, up through the Yakima Valley, then shifts north through Wenatchee and Chelan in Washington, up to the Canadian border.

Sage Fruit partnered with Chelan Fruit during the 2022 cherry season and will continue to do so in 2023, which adds a considerable volume of cherries to its program.

The company’s cherry season kicks off in mid-June, with the first peak loadings coming in late-June to early-July. Good volume is expected through mid-August.

Sage Fruit is carrying both dark sweet and rainier cherries in 2023. 

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Northwest Cherries Show Good Quality, But Volume is Down Significantly

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Northwest cherry shipments are expected to be off significantly this season – about 25 percent from a year ago.

Shipments are expected to total about 15 million cartons, compared to 20 million cartons last season.

If the estimate sticks, that would be nearly a quarter less than the 20.3 million boxes harvested a year ago and the smallest crop since 2013, when the region produced just 14.3 million boxes.

Northwest-grown cherries are harvested by more than 2,000 growers across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana who together make up almost all of the cherries you find in stores from midJune through early September. This year, a snowfall during cherry bloom significantly reduced and delayed the crop, but the remaining fruit is all the better for the reduced competition on the trees.  

Fresh Northwest-grown sweet cherries are available now in produce sections from coast to coast. This delicious summertime superfruit is sweet, juicy and packed with nutrients that support better health. From keeping pain at bay with anti-inflammatory properties to helping reduce stress and improve sleep, sweet cherries are a healthy grab-and-go snack for consumers of all ages.

“It’s been a long spring for our growers, but harvest has finally arrived” said B.J. Thurlby, president of the Northwest Cherry Growers. “Fortunately, the long, cool spring gave our cherries ample time to plump up, resulting in large, dark, extra-sweet cherries that have that great light crunch as you bite into them.”

Sweet cherries are loaded with anthocyanins, a polyphenolic compound that gives the fruit their deep, dark color from skin to pit and has also been shown to reduce inflammation, which may be a contributing factor to diseases such as arthritis, cancer and diabetes. Northwest sweet cherries are also a low-glycemic snack for those watching their blood sugars at home or on the go. Studies indicate that sweet cherries release glucose slowly and evenly, allowing blood sugar levels to stay steady longer.

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2022 Northwest Cherry Shipments Expected to Have Significant Decline

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Northwest cherry shipments are expected to be up slightly with more than 15 million 20-pound equivalents this season. This is about 5 million fewer than last year, according to the Round 1 Crop Estimate and Update issued by Northwest Cherry Growers of Yakima, WA on May 12.

Harvesting in the earliest orchards got underway May 28 with most early season growers starting the first week of June.

It takes the industry at least 10 days to begin building larger volumes.

The early season volume out of the Northwest should make for an nice transition from this year’s California crop.

Some unseasonably cold weather in April is primarily to blame for the smaller Northwest cherry crop. 

However, this is expected to increase supplies for both early and late-season cherry supplies.

The 2021 crop estimate of 24 million 20-pound boxes was reduced to 20.3 million boxes by the heat that hit 118 degrees in several growing districts.

Western Sweet Cherry Group of Yakima, WA is expected to begin its new crop sometime between June 10 and 12. Grower Direct Marketing LLC of Stockton, CA. markets product for Western Sweet Cherry Group.

The cherry crop is much later crop than usual, because it usually starts around Memorial Day.

Stemilt Growers Inc. of Wenatchee, WA. claims it has the nation’s longest cherry season and expects volume of cherries in July and August. The crop is expected to be more spread out leading to a longer shipping period.

Sage Fruit of Yakima will add cherries from Chelan Fruit this season, so the company’s overall volume should be up.

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The 2021 Cherry Crop Weathers the Heat

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2021 Shipped Crop To Date: 8,879,137 boxes as of July 5th

Excessive heat can delay fruit development just as much as cooler weather.

Duration of this heat wave encouraged growers who were close to harvest to begin picking and shipping before their fruit was subjected to the heat. Such an upward shift in volume will have an eventual impact on the overall daily potential volume.

So while some more fruit arrived at the optical sorters before otherwise expected, the Northwest did lose some cherries due to the extreme heat. Cherries on the perimeter of the trees were more greatly impacted than fruit within the canopies. Thankfully, many growers were able to mitigate the worst of the heat with over-orchard netting and under-canopy sprinklers and thus were able to save much of their fruit. And at this point, no effects on green or developing cherries have been detected.

Even with the spike of fruit intake before the heat by most warehouses, June volume still fell well under the forecast due weather delays. With close to 8.4 million boxes, the preliminary June 2021 total was just under 2 million boxes shy (18%) of the last pre-crop estimate.

While the first week of June saw an average of 31,000 boxes a day, the Northwest has averaged an additional half-million additional boxes shipped per day (530,000) for the last week of the month.

It’s obvious the preseason estimate of 22.4 million boxes couldn’t take into account a record-smashing heat wave.

Big volume cherry shipments should continue into August as planned. The cherries in many higher elevations and norther latitude orchards are still green and growing well.

While most retails are now carrying Northwest fruit, there is still some late California fruit to be found in markets around the US. California’s volume increased 283% from last year, and 231% over the 3 year average. This lingering California fruit has delayed the transition into Northwest cherries, and caused perhaps more of an issue for Northwest shippers than the weather.

Yakima Valley cherries – grossing about $9700 to New York City.

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Northwest Cherry Shipments Ramping Up Following Cool Weather Slowing Harvest

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Sweet cherry shipments are well underway in the Northwest, and produce is arriving at destination points across the country for the 2021 crop. 

The cherry industry has shipped just under 600,000 boxes total, much less than forecasted before cooler weather arrived.

July may not hit the high volumes experienced in 2017 (15 million) or 2018 (13.5 million), but at an estimated 11.3 million boxes the 2021 crop should deliver just under the 5-year average of 11.8 million boxes in July.

As detailed in the Northwest Cherry Growers last report, the end of May brought cool and unsettled weather which delayed the first pick for many of the early growers.  Similar weather patterns have largely continued to be the case as harvest slowly spreads and picks up speed in other spots across the Northwest.  Atypical storm fronts and lower daytime temperatures have caused growers to delay picking in order to allow their fruit to reach optimal maturity before harvest, which has led to an overall slower start to harvest and limited initial volumes.

While most growers are not looking at a full crop this season, their combined volume will steadily increase and should produce a steady supply through mid-August.

Yakima Valley cherries grossing – about $6900 to Chicago; $9700 to New York City.

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Northwest Cherry Shipments to Start in Late May, Peak Hitting in July

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By Northwest Cherry Shippers

The first estimate from Northwest Cherries pegs the 2021 crop at 23.79 million cartons, up 20% from 19.83 million cartons in 2020 and up 2% from 2019. Harvest is expected to begin June 1. 

Crop Size:  The Northwest Cherry Growers’ Field Estimate team has compiled an initial (“Round 1”) projection for the 2021 Northwest crop.  Annually this 22-person estimation team looks at their orchards as well as the surrounding area’s volume dynamics and compiles overviews for their area. 

Each member submits the data specific to their active growing districts, and then that data is built into an estimation model which represents each of the Northwest’s cherry growing regions.  The model is populated with historical data, growing degree day patterns, acreage shifts, market trends, processing tonnage and in-field assessments, and then uses the Field Team’s input to project a crop for the coming season.  This year, the first round data from the model suggests a 2021 crop of 237,992 tons.

2021 NW Round 1 Crop Estimate: 23,792,000 boxes

However, as always it is important to note that this Round One estimate has the most potential for variance from the eventual and actual size of the crop. Spring was late this year, but progressing quickly.  Tree “drops” are natural and taken into account in our subsequent estimates.  But that’s not all we can tell from the trees, and the news is good.

Crop Points to Remember – 2021

Harvest will begin in the last few days of May in our earliest sites.

As more orchards & regions come online during the first two weeks of June, volume may accumulate more slowly due to weather-impacted orchards.

While volume may accumulate more slowly, as the end of June approaches we expect shipping volumes to exceed last year.

Supplies for late June and the 4th of July promotions look very promising.

July will be a strong month all the way through.

August will have opportunity for at least one ad this season with projected volume trickling out through the end of the month.
Crop Timing: Based on our accumulated Growing Degree Day data, it appears that AT THIS POINT we are on track for a start that should begin by June 1.  In several of our earliest regions we are only a day or two behind last year, which saw harvest start on the 28th of May.

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