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031717-mis-rediscover-cherry-03

Marcos Ortis picks Rainier cherries at Glacier Fresh Orchards on Flathead Lake.

KALISPELL — The cherry harvest in Montana's Flathead Valley is expected to occur in about a month.

The Daily Interlake reports that an official from a regional growers cooperative says the harvest is expected to be close to the same size as last year.

Flathead Lake Cherry Growers President Bruce Johnson expects a harvest of about 2 million pounds.

Johnson says there was a small amount of crop damage in the Polson and Finley Point orchards due to unseasonably cold weather in early March.

He estimated the damages affected less than 10% of the overall crop.

Johnson says last year's harvest by the cooperative of about 70 member growers was just over 2 million pounds, although that figure does not include non-members who operate private cherry orchards.

In Washington state, cherry growers have not seen significant weather damage during the harvest season that began earlier this month.

The Yakima Herald reported Thursday that warm temperatures in late May eliminated an anticipated delay for growers in the Yakima Valley and the Pacific Northwest.

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The Northwest Cherry Growers estimates in an update released Thursday that this year's crop is expected to be 23.85 million boxes of 20 pounds (9.07 kilograms) each.

Growers say they were concerned the harvest would begin late due to cold and snowy conditions earlier this year.

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Windy and rainy conditions in recent weeks also have not hurt the outlook for the crop.

The Yakima-based cherry growers organization estimates June shipments will be 9.4 million boxes.

The group represents growers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah.

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Information from: Daily Inter Lake, http://www.dailyinterlake.com

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