Northwest Cherry Harvest Update
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Early NW Cherries still in the orchard

Northwest Cherry Growers Weekly Update - July 2nd, 2014

What started as an aggressive season continues to keep pace, with June of 2014 closing in the books at a record 10.3 million boxes shipped.  Our industry shipped half of that volume during 2012’s record crop, coming in at 4.7 million boxes for the month.   Daily averages for the start and the total month are records compared to the recent benchmark seasons.  Averaged across every day of shipments, June 2014 averaged 332,000 boxes shipped per day, which is more than the average for July in all but 3 of the past 15 seasons.  Average shipments for the past week are holding steady at nearly 522,000 boxes per day.  Except for a limited amount of late varieties, harvest is finishing up in the Tri-Cities, Columbia Basin and Lower Yakima Valley.

Strong demand continues to outpace supply of nearly every variety and row size, both domestically and abroad.  Across the US and Canada, Northwest cherries moved further into center stage as a heavily promoted produce item, and are taking their place in 4th of July promotions in print and in the stores.  In-Store radio ads and online promotions are focusing on high population consumer events, encouraging consumers to share the great taste of this season’s crop.  Year-over-Year, more than double the number of US retailers are advertising dark sweet cherries in retail circulars this week, while Rainier ads are up 60 percent in the same period.  Though red cherries are certainly the top feature of the category, retailers are responding to the push for early and more Rainier ads, which have increased 1,449% since last week. 

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A Northwest cherry orchard

There are plenty of sub-$2.50 retail prices, but overall frontline pricing is down 22% going into the Holiday, with dark sweet advertised prices averaging $3.06 per pound.  As with every season, the next four weeks will be a critical time to maximize the cherry category through aggressive promotions and increased display space.

Export markets have remained steady with Korea leading the way as a top off-shore market.  To date, Korea has absorbed 490,000 boxes, China/Hong Kong has taken almost 429,000 boxes, Taiwan is at 209,000 boxes, Japan is at 182,000 boxes and Australia is at 94,000 boxes.  Certainly, it will take the entire world to move the crop we have in 2014 … promotions are in full swing throughout our export markets and we expect strong sales to continue through the rest of the season!

This year more than ever is a reminder that our cherry season goes by quickly, so consumers need to be constantly reminded that fresh sweet cherries are in season.  To keep the story or idea fresh, we alternate focuses week to week in our media work, so that the final published stories and articles weave a more complete and encompassing public message.  Over the past week, we’ve seen several of our pitches come to life and add to the great run of media successes for the growers so far this season.  To view just a sample of the online features for the week, please find a series of links on page 3 of the Crop Update below. 

To Read or Download the NW Cherry Growers Weekly Crop Update, Click Here

For more immediate media and press links, along with great photos and videos of the Northwest cherry industry, make sure you're following the Northwest Cherries on Facebook and Twitter.


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