Tart cherry harvest picking up


Tart cherry harvest picking up

A frost in Mid-May is expected to reduce the size of the tart cherry crop this year as harvest ramps up in the country’s largest producing state.

President of the Cherry Marketing Institute Julie Gordon tells Brownfield the industry is also starting to see a shift in grower numbers as smaller operators have sold after several years of negative margins.

“Some of that has been bought up by neighboring larger farms so while overall acreage is down slightly, grower numbers are down quite a bit.”

USDA’s June tart cherry forecast projects Michigan’s crop down nearly 30 percent and the national crop down 25 percent.

“In New York, it looks like the crop is going to be pretty normal, in Wisconsin, the crop is going to be down, and in Utah, the crop size is going to be down a little as well—not to the degree that Michigan has suffered.”

Gordon says the coronavirus pandemic has not affected ag labor needs yet compared to some other specialty crops, but it has emphasized the importance of buying American which the tart cherry industry plans to educate more on in the coming year as growers continue to be plagued by import dumping.