There are three weeks or so to go before the California cherry season begins, with growers keeping their fingers crossed that wind or rain do not decimate the crop. But the industry is already planning to bring UK exports back to the 100,000 carton target achieved three years ago, said Deborah Olson, chairman of the state's Cherry Advisory Board. Last week Olson was in London meeting multiple buyers and getting a general briefing on potential sales. A fourth generation cherry grower, she said the industry based in the San Joaquin Valley had been transformed and was now growing modern varieties such as Bing, Lambert, Van and Ryan. "Harvesting is earlier than in more northerly Washington state, providing a window of opportunity. Our exports tend to drop off when these seasons merge," she said. "However there are some Californian regions where production goes on a lot longer, and with the demand for cherries from UK multiples, we feel we can become a far bigger player." Initial harvesting of Brooks will begin on April 25 followed by Tulare before the main crop gets under way. The current bloom looks very favourable. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}