An imperfect storm of California cherry problems

By Tony Wong :: June 12, 2019

In 2018 the exportation of cherries to China was down 40% due to tariffs placed on US agricultural products in an ever escalating trade war. This year cold weather caused a late crop which was further reduced by intense rains in the spring. As the harvest began, the rains caused the cherries to swell and split, rendering entire boxes unpalatable for shipment.

Current expectations for California’s cherry crop are hovering at 4-5 million boxes, down from 10 million as first expected. The earliest varietals have been all but ruined but as summer moves on, more crops will become available in the Northwest though it will be a few weeks before growers are sure of the actual numbers.

As Chinese imports of US grown cherries continues to find resistance due to tariffs, other nations are being scouted to pick up the slack. Shippers are working with markets in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and Vietnam to make up the difference.