Good Fruit Grower

May 15

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T he new cherry packing facility of Washington Fruit and Produce Company is nearly ready for the 2014 cherry season that starts in June. The new packing house will handle double the cherry volume in comparison to the company's old plant. Rick Plath, president of the Yakima, Washington-based grower-shipper business, told Good Fruit Grower there are several reasons why the company is investing in a new cherry packing house. The size of the investment was not disclosed. "Cherry packing capacity in the Northwest is limited," he said. "There's not a lot of excess packing capacity, and during cherry season, plants are running at their peak, twenty-four/seven. We see opportunity for new plants even though cherries are a shorter season than apples." Another reason for the new facility relates to changes in cherry plant- ings that have occurred in the last decade. Cherries have followed apple industry trends of increased acreage, high-density orchards, and use of semidwarfing rootstock and scion combinations, he said. 16 MAY 15, 2014 GOOD FRUIT GROWER Cherries HIGH-TECH cherry packing facility debuts New plant doubles the cherry volume for Washington Fruit. by Melissa Hansen "Cherry production in the Northwest has not peaked by any means." —Rick Plath United Sales, Inc., employees Matt Carter,left, and Don Sperry install cherry guards at the end of the sizer line at the new packing facility at Washington Fruit and Produce Company in Yakima, Washington.

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