Washington fruit industry officials say the end of the summer should bring more cherries into grocery stores, along with a nice crop of other summer fruit. Growers in high elevation areas of the state, including the Wenatchee area, are still picking their cherry crop, providing consumers one last opportunity to enjoy the fruit and enough cherries to prevent this from being the smallest in decades.
Adverse weather conditions have created harvest delays and reduced volumes drastically. While consumers can spot cherries in stores, there are far fewer displays than usual, making them hard to find. As of August 17, Northwest cherry growers had shipped 12.7 million 20-pound boxes, well below the 22.8 million five-year average. As of now, it would be the smallest crop since 2008, when there were just 9.7 million boxes.
With nearly 2 million boxes expected to be shipped in August, the figure could go up to almost 15 million, which would keep it from being the smallest crop in decades, but still be in line with several other disappointing harvest years.