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Oppenheimer awaits sweet season with Orchard View Farms cherries

Good things come to those who wait, and this season consumers will be eagerly anticipating the summer sweetness of Orchard View Farms cherries for longer than usual.

Although its unique location along the Columbia Gorge in The Dalles, OR, protected Orchard View Farms’ fruit from the severe winter weather woes that plagued some Pacific Northwest cherry growers, Brenda Thomas, president of the operation, is anticipating that the harvest will start late in the third week of June.

“There have been only four days with temperatures over 70 degrees this spring, so the cherries are taking their time,” she said in a May 31 press release. “We’re looking forward to the bright sunny days that are coming in June.”

And once the season starts, it will start with a bang.

“We expect to have more fruit right out of the gate than last year,” Ms. Thomas added in the press release, explaining that some early cherries had been lost to frost in 2010. “We also anticipate that our total volume will be up about 25 percent.”

During the off season, Orchard View Farms added a new racking system that will enable more packed fruit to be stored, and a new filler that will help accommodate the additional capacity.

A fourth-generation family-owned-and-operated cherry producer, Orchard View Farms is comprised of about 2,000 acres in Washington’s Klickitat County, as well as Hood River, Wasco and Sherman counties in Oregon. The fruit is packed in a central location in The Dalles, where The Oppenheimer Group, the grower’s exclusive marketer, will once again open the seasonal office to streamline sales and logistics during the fast-paced fresh cherry season.

“We’re looking forward to another season of excellent quality and flavor from Orchard View Farms,” David Smith, Oppenheimer’s senior vice president of national sales, added in the press release.

The full-service marketing and distribution company entered a long-term agreement with Orchard View Farms in 2010, significantly building its cherry repertoire, which previously had relied largely on Southern Hemisphere fruit.

“Our experience last year illustrated to us what an exciting deal this can be — and also what a valuable and reliable partner we have in Orchard View Farms,” Mr. Smith added in the press release.

Orchard View Farms produces Bing, Chelan, Kordia, Lapin, Tieton, Rainier, Regina, Skeena and Sweetheart cherries, planting the various varieties in the ideal micro-climates and elevations to ensure optimum quality and steady supplies.

In addition, the fruit is packed into proprietary View Fresh modified-atmosphere bags, which lengthen shelf life and keep cherry stems green. The innovation, which was developed by Orchard View Farms in the 1990s, has helped enhance the grower’s reputation for quality in the United States and in about two dozen export markets in Asia, Australasia and South America.