Northwest cold snaps this spring mean not as many cherries this summer. Flower buds and bees don’t like low temperatures. And the cherries don’t like the rain.
But there is a silver lining: When there are fewer cherries on the tree, that means the fruit that remains usually get plumper.
Norm Gutzwiler farms near Wenatchee. He’s a bit grumpy about the recent rains on his 100 acres of cherries. Some farmers are already using helicopters to shake the water off their fruit so the cherries don’t split and spoil. He says, the riper the sweet orbs get the more susceptible they are to rain damage.
“They may be a little bit harder to find, but I think there will be adequate cherries for the market and the consumer,” Gutzwiler says.
This summer farmers plan to harvest about 18 million boxes – each weighing about 20 pounds. That’s down from a record last year of 23 million boxes.
The first sweet Northwest cherries should be coming off trees in about a week.