“It just didn’t move": 2023 was a great but frustrating year for cherry growers

The quality of last season’s Pacific Northwest cherries was rated outstanding, but one cherry grower says that it was one of the more frustrating seasons, with the good product not moving due to extra high prices in California.

The Northwest Cherry Growers President says that it put some buyers off.

“You know when we started to pick around the 15th of June, California had around 3-4 million boxes on the floor still and was still picking, got behind because their fruit was, it was okay but they were shipping old fruit,” according to B.J. Thurlby. “They got behind and once it got to the market it was sitting on the shelves between $10.99 a pound to $5.99 a pound and it just didn’t move.”

“Our particular target price for ads would probably be in the $3.59 to $3.99 range because at that price the consumer continues to get a good deal and the growers can actually make a little bit of money on the back end. You know, at the same time, there needs to be some hot ads out there during the season too, whether they’re, you know, $2.99 or whatever, we need to see that and we didn’t really see that pricing last year until the third week of July,” he explains.

Thurlby says that talks between California and northwest cherry growers are ongoing to avoid similar issues down the road.

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