Northwest Cherries Will Ripen Later This Year Due To Spring Snow

Bright yellow Rainier cherries are stacked on top of each other in a huge pile.
Rainier cherries in the Northwest bloomed after the snow, so the crop should be stronger. (Photo courtesy of the Washington State Fruit Commission)


Snow fell throughout the Northwest in early April just as the cherries were blooming. That has had an effect. Correspondent Lauren Paterson reports on projections for the cherry harvest. (Runtime 1:04)


More than 20 million boxes of cherries were produced last year by growers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Utah, valued at nearly a billion dollars.

This year, the president of the Washington State Fruit Commission is warning not to expect that level of harvest. B.J. Thurlby predicts 14 million boxes, as the colder spring weather prevented cherry blossoms from being pollinated on time.

“So normal start date would be June 1. So we’re two weeks behind this year. And we’re hoping that we end up with enough fruit to bring the market try to satisfy the different markets that we’re trying to sell cherries into which is again 40 different markets around the world,” says Thurlby.

Thurlby estimates cherries to price out between 3.99 and 5.99 per pound this summer.

One silver – or rather, yellow lining for cherry fans – is that this year’s Rainier crop bloomed after the April snow. That means it might be a banner year for yellow cherries. Thurlby says you can expect them in stores for the next month all the way through July.