Fresh Food

Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers’ cherry season to kick off soon

cherry_seasonA sure sign that summer is right around the corner is set to hit retail with first shipments of sweet Northwest cherries from Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers. Though not quite as early as first expected, the season should kick off in late May or early June, with fruit shipping through the first week of August, a much earlier finish than in years past. Rainier cherries will start earlier than normal, also about June 8. Oneonta marketing director Scott Marboe says a warm spring initially accelerated the much-anticipated cherry season, but May weather patterns have adjusted the start date to a “little closer to normal, but still much earlier than previous years.” “Cooler weather the last few weeks and much needed rain showers have moved harvest dates back a few days. We are now looking for our first pickings to be May 29. That is still an early start date, but it’s not the record pre-Memorial Day we thought might happen,” he says. The crop is showing great quality, and fruit is sizing well. Marboe says that the first fruit from early orchards will be smaller in size, but bigger fruit will be more prevalent after the first few days of the shipping season. “We anticipate another excellent year, barring any incidents Mother Nature might throw at us,” he adds. A variety of pack options are available for Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers cherries, including the popular Euro 12/2.25-pound pouch bags for domestic markets. Loose clamshells and 5kg packaging are the preferred packages for offshore receivers, with exports to Korea, China and Australia on the rise while traditional outlets in Japan and Taiwan remain strong.

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