It could be one of the best seasons for cherry lovers in the Pacific Northwest.
The crop is forecast to yield 22.7 million boxes, but it could surpass the 23.2 million-box record set in 2014, according to the Associated Press.
The figures were released at the Five State Cherry Commission meeting.
Cherry season is also expected to stretch late into August this year thanks to a cold winter that is pushing the beginning of harvest into early June.
Harvest could last 90 to 100 days, which is good news for the growers. It means more sales and good prices.
Last year’s cherry crop was 20.97 boxes, the third-largest in history. This year’s crop should increase by at least eight percent.
“It looks like we’re heading for a nice quality crop,” Grandview-based grower Don Olmstead told The Yakima Herald.
Some growers said the crop this year could be as high as 15 to 25 percent larger than last year, putting it in the 24 to 26 million-box range.
“We will have lots of cherries,” B.J. Thurlby, who helps promote the Northwest Cherry Growers and the Washington State Fruit Commission, told Capital Press.
California cherries are harvested early and have been selling in many stores for $3.99 per pound. That crop is expected to wind down by early June, just before the Northwest season kicks into high gear.
Cherries should be plentiful for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Prices at that time may be in the $2.99 per pound range, Bob Mast, the president of Wenatchee-based CMI Orchards told The Packer.
That’s about a dollar more than in previous years.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653