YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - Because of freezing Spring temperatures in the Northwest, farmers in the five-state cherry-growing region are estimating their crop will be down 15 to 20 percent this year.
Even more significant is the fact the harvest will fall later in the season, which could make it more difficult for east coast supermarkets to get a full supply in time for the midsummer holiday.
The harvest traditionally peaks the third week of june.
Sweet cherries are grown on 52,000 acres in washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah, with Washington producing roughly half of the U.S. crop alone.
Northwest growers harvested a record 147,800 tons, or 14.9 million boxes, in 2006, then nearly matched that a year later with 147,200 tons.
This year, the crop is estimated at 120,290 tons, or about 12 million boxes.
Each standard box weighs 20 pounds.