Our cherry harvest started with Dark Sweets and has progressed nicely,” says Andy Tudor with Rainier Fruit. “We are nearing the mid-point of our season.” Rainier’s growers have just started harvest of the popular Skeena variety. “This is a favorite in all markets,” said Tudor, who sells cherries in North America, but also exports to many countries in Asia as well as Oceania. It is a variety that sizes up very well and is known for its firmness. The company is using the China Express, a dedicated charter plane, in a limited fashion on shipments to China. All exporters have access to this charter service.
Prepared for the heat
The weather in Washington state has been dry and triple-digit heat is starting, but Rainier Fruit is well prepared for the heat. “Our investments in orchard netting and portable hydrocoolers pay huge dividends going in to the heat,” Tudor said. Portable hydrocoolers help remove the field heat and are moved to farm locations that are more than 30 miles away from the company’s packing facility. Shortly after being picked, the cherries are run under cold water to bring the temperature down as quickly as possible, resulting in a longer shelf-life. Netting serves several purposes. Not only does it help minimize the damage from birds, it is also cooler inside the netting than outside. “Combining netting with under-tree sprinklers can drop the temperature by as much as 10 degrees versus being in direct sunlight.”
“Overall the inspectors and buyers have been pleased with the quality of the fruit our growers are producing,” concluded Tudor.