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Washington's Third-Largest Cherry Crop Queued-Up This Season

Anna King
Northwest News Network

Northwest sweet cherry growers say this season they'll likely pick their third-largest haul ever -- 20 million boxes.

Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah grow about two-thirds of the nation’s sweet cherries. And this year demand should be even higher for the candy-like fruit. That’s because of dismal cherry growing weather in California. The continuing drought in that state and poor pollination has thinned out their crops.

Further north, cherry-growing weather has been better. The Northwest Cherry Growers' James Michael says there could be cherries on store shelves clear into August.

“Our growers in our latest districts in Oregon and northern Washington are just finishing up with bloom," he says. "So that really lends to a nice long season.”

But there’s still plenty that can happen to cherries -- even on the day of harvest. Northwest cherries will make it to stores as long as there are no close-to-harvest rains. Water puddles near the fruit’s stem and can split the fruit.

The orbs of goodness should start hitting stores in early June.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.