Latest crop reports from Northwest Cherries in the US indicate that the crop is on course for harvesting to start in Washington State around June 4.

However, David Severn of Washington State Fruit Commission makes the point that the harvesting of the crop in Wenatchee, one of the major production areas, would take place later than normal.

On the whole, a cooler spring has pushed back production of varieties such as Bing by five to 10 days depending on the region compared with last year.

Shipments started on May 31 last year. This year they are set to peak on June 17 and continue strongly into August. The season is also later because of the development of later-fruiting varieties such as Regina, Sweetheart, Gibraltar and the premium golden variety Ranier, a softer cherry that is gaining a great presence in the UK.

George Smith, Northwest Cherries promotions director responsible for Europe and the Middle East, said heavier exports would be coming to Europe this season, reaching at least 300,000 20lb cartons, with the UK getting the majority, and supermarkets promoting in mid-July.