Cherry Season: Primed for Picking

By Tony Wong :: May 21, 2021

The cherry season expected to come from the Pacific Northwest and California this year should be an incredible 20% larger than last year – a banner harvest in a worldwide banner year for cherry growers. Experts expect the Washington state season will bring 23.8 million cartons to the market to meet an expectedly greater than usual demand as cherry growers expand the first pro cherry marketing campaign to detail health benefits and coincide with the rollout. 

While we don’t want to make foolish comparisons, it’s possible that this year the cherry will reach the superfood status enjoyed by avocados, kale, blueberries, and acai berries as a marketing push looks to raise awareness of the health benefits of these little red delights. And the health benefits are many, though almost 70% of cherry purchases are considered impulse buys. The marketing push seeks to make them a more intended purchase and more common to find alongside apples and bananas in lunch pails and fruit bowls. 

The season looks good for everyone thus far. Damage due to cold weather snaps is minimal and has actually thinned the crop to help with overall fruit size by clearing out low-quality and puny fruits. Farmers anticipate the Pacific Northwest harvest commencing around June 3rd if the weather holds up and it should taper nicely into the California harvest sending high-quality cherries into the market through the summer. We expect there will be about 2 weeks overlapping between the California & Washington state seasons.

The quality harvest isn’t exclusive to the U.S. as Chinese cherry producers are expecting an incredible season as well. Weather has been excellent for the producers overseas and demand is hot, especially for local produce and fruits in Asian grocery stores. While this is expected to drive prices down with a serious over-supply of high-quality cherries available, the demand is expected to eat up every cherry that farmers can harvest. 

Perishables like cherries are typically diverted to air cargo considering the container issues that are falling down around agriculture exporters. This year though, the air cargo capacity is reaching its boiling point and the early harvested commodities are hitting at a difficult time. This year, the perishables forwarder is going to be the best friend of the cherry shipper. Apart from having an experienced logistics partner on your team, you’ll need someone with long and stable relationships with carriers to ensure you have space, expedited loading and unloading to avoid summertime delays on hot tarmacs, and the highest tech temperature control to ensure your cherries stay cool even in the hottest summer. This year CFI has your back, the best temperature-controlled overpack, and the best shipping options for your cherry snack.

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