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Sweet Northwest Cherries Get A New First-Class Direct Flight To Asia

Northwest Cherry Growers Association
Northwest cherry growers have a new way to get more of their fruit to prime Asian markets like South Korea and China.

Northwest cherry season is upon us. And officials have just struck a deal to get more of those cherries to prime Asian markets like South Korea and China.

A new flight takes off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport this weekend.

The Northwest Cherry Growers Association has locked in China Eastern Airlines to provide a new direct cargo flight from Sea-Tac to Seoul, South Korea. This direct flight will help get more cherries larger than an inch in diameter directly to South Korea, then head on for Chinese markets.

Keith Hu, director of international operations with Northwest Cherry Growers, said these big, plane-pampered cherries can be hard to find in stores in the Northwest.

“These cherries they always fetch for the highest dollar amount,” he said. “The customer pays $10 a pound but they are eating something we don’t see domestically.”

Hu said the direct flight is important because it maintains the quality of the fruit. The cherries stay cold and get to Asia fast.

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.