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Washington cherry problems persistIt's still not looking good for Washington cherry growers after heavy rain, followed by extreme heat, have caused fruit to split on the tree.
Many growers are leaving the fruit unpicked, rather than pay for fruit unfit for consumption to be harvested.
This year's crop was originally estimated to reach volumes of 18 million 20 pound boxes, but this has now been downsized considerably to 13-14 million boxes, provided of course that late varieties do not encounter any further inclement weather.
“No areas have been spared,” said Roger Pepperl, marketing manager of Stemilt Growers, the nation’s largest packer of sweet cherries.
There’s been great demand for cherries this year after a record 23-million-box crop last year, but packers won’t come close to filling all the orders, Pepperl said.
“It’s been one weather event after another. This will be a year to remember,” he said.
Around 4.8 million boxes of cherries have so far been packed, which is a lot less than the 6-7 million anticipated by this stage.
Publication date: 7/3/2013
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