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Shipping Cherries

Sweet cherries should be cooled to below 5oC by 4 hours after harvest and low temperatures maintained throughout packing, storage, and transport. Room cooling, forced-air cooling, and hydrocooling are all used to cool sweet cherry fruit. Of these, hydrocooling is the most rapid, and chlorine compounds can be added to the hydrocooler water to reduce decay potential.  Low temperatures minimize quality loss as well as physiological and pathological disorders. Cherries continue to respire after packing which in turn, generates heat. For this reason, cherries have a relatively short storage life even with maintaining low temperatures. Shipments that must travel great distances via a container truck or by sea are at special risk for quality loss. A recent study conducted by researchers for the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland, B.C., Canada looked at the importance of maintaining the integrity of the cold treatment from harvest to market. (HortTechnology article link)

In 2014 Washington growers produced over 22 Million 20-pound boxes of cherries. About 92% of last year’s crop were transported by air. The East Asian market accounts for about 15 cargo flights a week throughout the season. There are even special “Cherry Charter” flights for both China and Japan. (reference article link)

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