Market News & Insights from the Constantly Evolving Produce and Trucking Industries

Blogging the Road Ahead

Spotlight on Cherries


Independence day is tomorrow, and northwest cherries are always a fan favorite at barbeques, picnics and other July 4th celebrations. According to the Washington State Fruit Commission, approximately 80% of sweet northwest cherries are grown in Washington, with popular varieties listed as Chelan, Tieton, Bing, Rainier, Lambert and Sweetheart.

The 2014 crop is shaping up to be a great one, both in terms of volume and quality. This is especially good news after frost in the 2013 growing period reduced Washington State’s crop tonnage by 29% from 2012. Northwest growers from around WA state have also increased their acreage in recent years, putting crops in at different elevations in order to take advantage of micro-climates, which will help to diversify crops. With production currently keeping pace to volume, 2014 should be a long and successful season for northwest growers.

Despite great quality this year, cherries remain one of the most sensitive products to ship. As such, we have information and guidelines in place for loading:

  • Like blueberries, cherries can sometimes take several hours to load. This is important for drivers to keep in mind for their Hours-of-Service availabilities.
  • UWT requests carriers to pulp the cherries and also take photos of some of the cases being loaded, showing the pulp temperature in the pictures. Make sure that your pulp thermometer is calibrated and reading accurately. Drivers on these loads must have a digital camera available (typically on your mobile phone). Drivers must send these photos to UWT and await response that photos have been received prior to leaving the pickup location.
  • We also strongly suggest that the driver take photos of the inside of the trailer, including of the chute. This will indicate that the inside of the trailer and chute were in optimal condition prior to loading.
  • All other standard guidelines provided must be strictly followed, including but not limited to running the refrigeration unit on continuous setting.

Cherries are very delicate loads, and we want to do all we can to protect the client, shipper, drivers, carrier companies and ourselves. With each carton of bagged cherries costing about $50 US, it is imperative that all parties do what they can to ensure deliveries will be successful.  Need help with shipping cherries? Contact our today to learn how we can help! We wish everyone a great 4th of July, complete with a bunch of awesome tasting cherries!



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