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Bob Larson Cherry Volume Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: September 15, 2017

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. It was the kind of year cherry growers dream of, but at some point that dream turned to a bit of a nightmare. Northwest Cherry Growers president BJ Thurlby says even with a record demand, it just couldn’t keep up with their record volume they experienced …

BJ THURLBY … “We shipped a record amount of fruit. We shipped 500-thousand boxes for 42 days straight. And, when you get that kind of support, I mean, when people say there’s not demand, I mean that’s demand we’ve never seen. But, was it enough? No, I mean, it really wasn’t and what we really saw was we didn’t see the movement off of the store shelves as quick as we needed it to be.”

Thurlby says the summer heat played a big role in the type of fruit they were able to ship …

BJ THURLBY … “You talk to some retailers who focused on trying to get a little bit bigger fruit. They have really good years. They have good movement. There was a lot of smaller fruit out there too and what happens is that it doesn’t move as fast through the system and then you end up with fruit sitting on the shelf, which this fruit this year, wasn’t grown to sit for very long. It needed to get into people’s refrigerators and eaten. And, we saw some fruit sit and, you know how it works, we just ended up with some produce out there on the floor that didn’t move fast enough.”

Thurlby says the high quality cherries consistently grown in Washington have set the bar pretty high for consumer expectations and what they’ve come to expect.

He says the record crop caused prices to drop below $16 per box, something that made it simply unprofitable for many growers.

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