Cherry Crop May Take Hit From Early Northwest U.S. Heat Wave

Unprecedented early heat across the U.S. Northwest could spell bad news for Washington state’s cherries.

Blazing temperatures are hitting the state in the middle of harvest season for the tree fruit. Growers in Washington, the top U.S. producer of sweet cherries, are resorting to picking at night and early in the morning to reduce workers’ exposure to the sun and heat. And fruit is as susceptible to sunburn as people.

“As temperatures get very high, we have to take extra measures to protect fruit from damage,” Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, said in an interview. “What that means for consumers is that you might see a smaller total harvested crop.”

The state’s $342 million cherry-export market already was in a precarious situation after the Covid-19 pandemic rocked economies around the world. Going forward, climate change means farmers are going to have to continue to adapt to keep the world fed.

“We saw exactly how fragile some of these supply chains can be when we had the initial disruptions in early 2020,” DeVaney said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.