Good Fruit Grower

May 15

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6 MAY 15, 2016 Good Fruit Grower A nother Northwest cherry season is around the corner, and at this point, there is no reason not to expect another 20 million box crop of amazing sweet cherries! Our cherry growing cohorts in California are reporting the best chilling hours and best southern district bloom and set that they have seen in five years. The California crop is running ahead of nor- mal by four or five days, and experts suggest that a crop of 6 to 7 million 18-pound equivalent boxes is a realistic estimate at this point. The Californians are predicting enough cherries for Memorial Day promotions and very limited crossover into June. The Northwest, meanwhile, is planning for large Fourth of July promotions and hop- ing that the entire country has "summer weather" during that holiday weekend. Being in the sweet cherry business, we all know that no season ever seems to play out the same. Every season is about high hopes for a unique and truly outstanding product. But every season seems to have different nuances and issues that come into play. From the orchard to the market, we work hard to cultivate opportunity for success. Likewise, everyone in the Northwest hopes that 2016 will be the season where everything goes right from start to finish. The 2015 season came and went like a whirlwind. Shipments started in late May and were all but done by the first week of August. The quick and compressed season constitutes the earliest finish for the Northwest in over 20 years. It appears that the total Northwest fresh crop came in at 19.4 million 20-pound equivalent boxes. The 2015 crop started early (on May 23) and compressed to 18.5 million boxes being shipped over just 60 days. Likewise, the Round 1 crop estimate that was distributed to the industry on May 4, 2015, came in at 19.6 million boxes; that means that by season's end, the industry esti- mate was accurate within 1.5 percent. In the preseason, the industry saw a clearly defined Good Point B.J. Thurlby, Northwest Cherries After record-setting heat in 2015, cherry growers look to new year. TJ Mullinax/Good FruiT Grower SweetHeart cherries are harvested last July in Selah, Washington. The 2015 harvest was challenging for Northwest growers because of record temperatures and a compressed season. Hot for cherries

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