How to transport harvest-fresh cherries

The Pacific Northwest is known for its bountiful harvest of cherries each summer, with much of the crop exported to Asia. What are the steps to ensure the fruit gets to market in good order?

Around 20 million 20lb boxes of delicious, plump and fleshy cherries were harvested in the Pacific Northwest during the summer season. The cherries from this region in the US, centred on Washington State, are some of the best in the world and in demand by consumers across the globe.

Around 30 per cent of the harvest is exported, with Asia being the biggest customer, led by China and South Korea. ‘Europe is the second market after Asia, but it is a distant second,’ says Patrick Allen, manager and franchise owner of Pilot Freight Service’s Washington offices.

It has become expert in trucking and shipping the tonnes of the ever-popular Bing, the early cropping Chelan, the yellow Rainier and the late season mahogany red Lapin varieties to market.

Harvested in an intense three month period over the summer, these are delicate fruits that need to be transported thousands of miles, so how do they get from the tree to market in good condition? Click through our slideshow below to find out.