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The cherry harvest is off to a late start in Washington

The colder, rainier than usual weather across the Northwest has snarled the region's cherry-growing season.

Jim Jamison owns a small plot in Richland. Wash. and says that by now, he'd normally have hundreds of customers shopping with them at a u-pick orchard.

“I think ours in the Northwest will be late," Jamison said. "I fully expect there will be growers in the valley here picking cherries in mid-July and beyond, perhaps it depends on varieties.”

B.J. Thurlby, president of the Washington State Fruit Commission, says 40% of cherries in Washington state had yet to bloom when snow fell on the orchards in mid-April.

The bright red Bings have been the most affected by the late snowfall.

“It was the variety that was kind of right in bloom when a lot of the snow hit and again; the bees only work, they only come out of their hives when it's 55 degrees and higher," Thurlby said. "And we went through a lot of bloom where the bees just didn't get out and work.”

Thurlby also says that despite the challenges, those bright yellow Rainier cherries are growing well throughout the Northwest. Rainier cherries should be showing up in stores between now and through July.

Find a list of u-pick cherry orchards here.