California Cherries Poised for Record Year

Brian German Specialty Crops, Weather

Cherry harvest in California is just about wrapped up and growers are excited to make up for the previous years of disappointing returns.  The official estimate was 8.5 million boxes but Executive Director for California Cherry Board, Chris Zanobini noted they are already closer to 9 million boxes.

California cherries

The 2016 harvest of only 5.17 million boxes was the most successful year since 2012.  A lack of chilling hours and the unfortunate timing of late Spring rains wreaked havoc on cherry crops.  Cherries prefer cooler weather and the lower than average Spring temperatures this year provided ideal growing conditions for the trees, allowing them to grow slowly.

The adverse growing conditions of the previous years also took a toll on the amount of retail-quality cherries being produced, with many cherries instead going to preservatives and dairies.  Zanobini indicated that not only is overall tonnage up this year, but the quality has been exceptional and producers are reporting steady prices.

Even with an increase in overall supply this year, demand for California cherries remains stable.  “The domestic market has been incredibly strong the export markets have been very strong and overall I think it’s a banner season for California cherries,” said Zanobini.

Listen to Chris’s full interview.
06-08-17 Chris Zanobini