Cherry harvest in full swing in Valley ahead of Memorial Day

Dale Yurong Image
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Cherry harvest in full swing in Valley ahead of Memorial Day
The warm sun is helping to sweeten a valley favorite that's now back in season.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Crews in a Reedley cherry orchard worked quickly to fill up bucket after bucket.

Local grower Tony Yasuda knows shoppers can't wait for the sweet fruit, so the bins are ready to be shipped.

"It's really important because there's a lot of pull," he said, "All of the main retailers, chain stores, are grabbing as many cherries as possible so they can get it for the Memorial Day ads."

The bright red cherries will be shipped out in time for markets, both domestic and overseas, to enjoy the sweet fruit for the Memorial Day weekend.

Each cherry will be sorted by size for different markets.

"The export market, that's what they want," Yasuda said. "They want 9 1/2 and 9-row sized fruit for export going to Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam."

The higher the number, the smaller the cherry.

"Walmart takes 11s," Yasuda said. "This is basically a Walmart order, and then the domestic Costco wants a 10-row-sized cherry."

It's shaping up though to be a good season with high-quality fruit.

"The California crop in whole, it's a big crop, probably about 10 million boxes," Yasuda said. "There are a lot of fields that are under-sized just because of the crop load on the tree."

Yasuda has been growing cherries for more than 40 years. Every season is different.

He's glad to see the crop ripen at a time the industry is used to.

"Last year, there was a very light crop and no people to pick," he said.

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