Spring heat and wind will likely prevent California's cherry crop from flirting with record production this year, growers say.
The Golden State's 2021 crop was initially projected at 9.47 million 18-pound boxes, just short of the record 9.55 million boxes harvested in 2017, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.
But with the harvest now peaking, industry leaders say early-season weather damage could hold the crop to about 8 million cartons, the Farm Bureau reports.
Bing cherries remain the top variety grown in California, but farmers have been planting more of a type called Coral Champagne, which matures earlier, the CFBF observes. The dry, sunny spring still allowed cherry trees to set plenty of fruit.
Like California, the Pacific Northwest expects an improved crop over 2020, with an initial estimate of 23.8 million cartons, according to The Produce News. The harvest in the region peaks at midsummer.