Cherries

Northwest sweet cherry experts are reporting that some orchards are having a hard time getting their fruit picked this year.

The region's recent stretch of warm weather means Northwest sweet cherries will likely be going early to market this year.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Northwest sweet cherry growers say this season they'll likely pick their third-largest haul ever. That's 20 million boxes full. But there’s plenty that can happen to cherries even the day of harvest.

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.

With lingering high unemployment and the endless talk of the down economy – it’s hard to believe that there are some industries putting help-wanted signs out by the dozens. But that’s the case in Northwest orchard country where there appears to be a dwindling supply of migrant workers for cherry picking. Cherry season started this past week, and as correspondent Anna King reports, farmers and shop-keeps alike are anxiously waiting for more workers to arrive.

Photo credit: Anna King / Northwest News Network

The Northwest cherry harvest is set to begin next week, but farmers are a bit glum. That’s because the National Weather Service says this month’s temperatures will be near or below average across Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Cool weather and rain and can delay ripening and compress the cherry growing season. That means that markets have less time to sell the perishable fruit. Plus, farmers may have a harder time recruiting enough labor in a shortened season.

And there’s another problem according to the Washington Fruit Commission's B.J. Thurlby. He says rain can spoil the fruit on the branch.