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Cherry Processors Get Busy

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SUNNYSIDE--Central Washington's cherry crop is huge this year, but farmers and distributors say prices are much lower.

At Johnson Foods in Sunnyside on Saturday, one-hundred workers processed and packed cherries.

They'll eventually be sold to companies that make cherry flavoring for Dannon and Yoplait yogurt.

Cherries have been cheap this year.
"So far [low prices has] been the case for us," Gary Johnson, Johnson Foods, said.  "We compete a lot against Michigan cherries and we know they're going to be priced pretty cheap this year.  So for us to be in the marketplace, it's been a good thing so far."

Johnson said their selling prices are the lowest he can remember, but he expects an increased volume of sales to make up for the smaller profit margin.

Johnson Foods packs about 200,000 pounds of Vann cherries each day, and roughly 6 million pounds of cherries per season.