Hood River Cherry Co. describes ideal bloom conditions for new cherry crop

cherries55 Hood River Cherry Co. co-owner Brad Fowler, who with his wife Kathryn (Katy) Klein founded the company in the early 1990s, described this year’s bloom conditions as ideal and said pre-season interest has been strong.

Acknowledging 2020’s extraordinary events, Fowler said the company’s top priority is providing a safe and healthy product. He added that Mother Nature has cooperated in the months leading up to HRCC’s July start.

“Even though Hood River Cherry Co. is completely focused on how we can pack this crop of cherries safely for our customers and our employees, our same long-term customers seem to be looking forward to this crop more than ever,” Fowler said. “Maybe we all need this crop and Mother Nature’s assurance that our world will be all right.”

Now in its 28th year, HRCC has adhered to those founding principles of quality, safety and stewardship since Fowler and Klein planted their first cherry tree in 1993, the day their youngest son was born. Fowler said in early May that indications are for this year’s new crop to closely match 2019s.

“So far, bloom conditions have been ideal,” he said. “The bees have had lots of cooler calm days to do their work.” HRCC is a high-elevation producer, so its cherries ripen later. “We don’t begin shipping until about July 15,” Fowler said.

While conditions had been excellent going into May, Fowler said there remain some unknowns ahead.

“Labor and maintaining a safe environment for that labor is the biggest issue this season,” Fowler said. “To be honest, we really don’t know how this harvest season will unfold. Conditions and regulations are changing daily. Costs will go up, and it will be unavoidable that cherries will be more expensive this year. There is simply no way that can be avoided.”

He noted that Rainiers are one of the first varieties picked, “followed by Bing and then the queen of high elevation cherries, the Lapin.” Next are Regina and then Skeena, with the last variety of the season, the Sweetheart, picked in late August.

Fowler said production “increases slightly every year as our younger blocks mature and produce more cherries.”

Although there is that slight increase as blocks mature, Fowler said, “Hood River Cherry Cos. market is premium cherries. That’s what we do, and that’s all we do. All farmers strive to produce the biggest crop they can, but for us it’s not the way. We work hard to limit our crop size to no more than five to six tons per acre because that is the crop load that allows the tree to grow those really big and sweet cherries. There simply is no other way.”

He added, “Even though Mother Nature makes the final call, for us, we hope this crop is identical to 2019.”

Patrinka Crammond joins Shanley Farms
Citriburst Finger Lime grower Shanley Farms has added Patrinka Crammond in business and program development. Crammond, has an extensive background in the produce industry, most recently seven years with Savor Fresh Farms Kiss Melon program in sales and retail program development. “With many retail relationships and experience Read More ...
John Vena launches new site
John Vena Inc. has been in the produce business for a century. As the company approached its hundredth anniversary in 2019, President John Vena, the third generation of the Vena family at the helm, decided it was time to bring his team’s expertise to life online. The colorful website offers a host of new features. The Read More ...
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Super Cherry
Superfresh Growers announced the arrival of Super Cherry, the biggest cherries on the tree — extra juicy, extra tasty and extra large. The 2020 lineup includes both dark sweet and Rainier cherries in pouch bags and clamshells. Exclusively grown and shipped by Superfresh Growers, these jumbo Northwest cherries will deliver a Read More ...
Hy-Vee, Robinson Fresh donate 50,000 mangos
Robinson Fresh, a leader in fresh produce sourcing and supply chain solutions, announced the donation of more than 50,000 mangos to families in need. Totaling roughly 6,000 pounds, the mango supply was distributed at seven different Hy-Vee locations in Iowa earlier this month. At each of the seven locations, Hy-Vee customers Read More ...
Jim Allen retiring from NYAS, Tenley Allen Fitzgerald to succeed her father
Jim Allen, vice president of marketing for New York Apple Sales, will be retiring June 26. Allen has been with NYAS since February of 2017, though he has been in the produce industry for 48 years, starting in 1972 in the fruit processing business. In 1980, Allen gained his marketing experience with Keystone Fruit Read More ...

Market Watch

the source pro-act

Western growing regions getting hit by rain, cooler temps

floral pulse