Northwest cherry crops facing disease and decreased harvest

  • Associated Press
  • Tuesday, May 26, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Cherry industry officials in Oregon and Washington state estimate a tree infection has substantially depleted the fruit for this year’s harvest.

The infection known as little cherry disease has chopped an estimated 40 million pounds (18 million kilograms) of cherries from the forthcoming harvest, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Sunday.

The Northwest harvest begins around the end of May every year.

Nearly 21 million boxes of cherries weighing 20 pounds (9 kilograms) each are expected to be picked in Oregon and Washington, down about 20 percent from a record-setting 2017 crop.

The disease involves a phytoplasma similar to a bacteria and a separate virus causing similar symptoms that are spread by insects including leafhoppers and mealybugs, officials said.

Northwest cherry growers have to cut down infected trees to prevent the disease from spreading before entire orchards are reduced to stumps.

Little cherry disease has devastated growers in California and Canada. Northwest farmers can request training from Washington State University Extension staff or obtain a booklet to help identify fruit affected by the disease.

“They’re small and pale, but they’re either bland or bitter,” said Tianna DuPoint, an extension staff member in Wenatchee, Washington. “So they won’t hurt you if you eat them, but they’re not marketable.”

B.J. Thurlby of the Northwest Cherry Growers industry group said the crop will be reduced largely because of little cherry disease and spring frost.

Exports to China will be down, but may be offset by exports to other parts of Asia, Thurlby said.

“We’re expecting at least two million boxes just to (South) Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam,” Thurlby said. “So that should be a good export deal for us.”

More in Life

A GROWING CONCERN: Get your garden marching orders

THE “IDES OF March” are nearly upon us and we had an… Continue reading

TSR
Peninsula seniors walk runways in New York City

Captain-Crystal, Kidd participate in Fashion Week

ISSUES OF FAITH: A case of holy jealousy

WE ARE NEARING the end of Lent and the number of services,… Continue reading

Artwork courtesy of Mary Hiestand / “Orange Flowers” by Mary Hiestand, a featured artist at the Blue Whole Gallery in March, will be on display during the First Friday Art Walk.
First Friday Art Walk Sequim celebrates March in glorious green

Self-guided tour available for monthly art walk in Sequim

Clallam County master gardeners, from left, Keith Dekker, Tom Del Hotal and Gordon Clark will conduct a free fruit tree pruning workshop Saturday at the Woodcock Demonstration Garden in Sequim.
Pruning workshop set Saturday for Sequim

Master gardeners Keith Dekker, Tom Del Hotal and Gordon Clark… Continue reading

Shipley Center Program Director Reba Renner, program director at the Shipley Center, sorts through more than 80 works of art that will be sold at the center’s art soiree Thursday evening.
Art sale fundraiser set Thursday

The Shipley Center will conduct an “Evening Art Soiree” from… Continue reading

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith.
Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith will present “Heart Centeredness” at… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: Good habits build character for your garden

LET’S RECAP WHERE we are so far this year. I am back… Continue reading

CutlIne: What beautiful long ears and adorable eyes he has! Meet Rio,  a mammoth donkey who grew to 16’2 hands tall.
HORSEPLAY: Want a donkey? A beginners guide to donkey care

GOT THE URGE to bring home a cute, adorable miniature donkey? I’ve… Continue reading

“Against all Odds: Abandonment to Olympian, A Tribute to Joe Rantz” by Catherine Bilyard is one of 41 quilts on display in Sequim Museum & Arts through the end of March as part of the “Inspiration/Exploration” exhibit. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Joe Rantz quilt highlighted at Sequim museum

Tribute among 41 pieces in show

Sunday program set for OUUF

Joseph Bednarik will present “Sex and the Dictionary” at… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Cut away what holds growth back

IT’S FEBRUARY AND time to begin pruning the vineyards in Eastern Washington… Continue reading