Cherry harvest under way in Eastern Washington - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Cherry harvest under way in Eastern Washington

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KENNEWICK, Wash., -- The sweet cherry harvest has begun in Eastern Washington, which will produce most of the nation's crop.

Farmers report only minimal damage from recent rains, which can cause ripe cherries to split.

Washington is expected to provide about 18 million boxes of a national crop estimated at 20 million boxes.  A box holds 20 pounds of cherries.  Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah also produce sweet cherries.

The president of the Washington State Fruit Commission and Northwest Cherry Growers, B.J. Thurlby, says the cherry harvest will be in full blast by the Fourth of July.  The last cherries probably will be shipped in September.