Northwest cherry harvest is smallest in 14 years after April storm derailed start
Officials with Northwest Cherries say while August was fruitful, 2022 will go down as one of the Northwest’s smallest crops in years.
The Pacific Northwest cherry crop is 80,000 tons short this year.
The smaller-than-usual fruit harvest happened largely because Oregon and Washington were hit with a severe winter storm on April 14, during the region’s cherry blossom bloom. According to B.J. Thurlby, the president of both the Washington State Fruit Commission and Northwest Cherries, a snow event during the cherry bloom has not happened before.
He said this year’s crop is the smallest since 2008.
“The crop should finish up at 130,000 tons going to the fresh market,” Thurlby wrote in a statement to OPB. “A normal crop is 210,000 tons going to the fresh market. While the state fruit commission cannot comment on market prices, fewer cherries will be available on the market, with the Northwest being one of the largest exporters in the nation.”
Charles Poindexter, co-owner of Sherwood Orchards, said farms in the Willamette Valley weren’t as severely affected as colder parts of the Pacific Northwest. Despite a smaller cherry crop in the state, he’s kept his U-pick cherry prices the same, because he knows his customers are facing higher prices on gasoline.
“I decided I wasn’t going to raise my prices this year,” he said. “If people are going to make the effort to drive out here and pick fruit, they are going to have to pay a little more to drive out here.”
Poindexter said his apple season was also affected by the weather. He said it started about a week late due to cold weather, but he hopes the crop won’t be seriously impacted.
Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting