YAKIMA, Wash. — Rains that fell in the Yakima Valley on Thursday do not appear to have harmed a cherry crop that is just days away from harvest.

James Michael of the Northwest Cherry Growers says the rain didn’t fall in the areas where there are cherry orchards.

Rain water can be absorbed by cherries, which splits the skin and makes them less valuable.

The Yakima Herald-Republic says harvest in the early cherry regions, including the Lower Yakima Valley and Columbia Basin, is expected to start next week and last until August.

Up to 23 million 20-pound boxes are expected to be shipped to retailers this year, according the latest Northwest Cherry Growers estimate.

Information from: Yakima Herald-Republic, http://www.yakimaherald.com

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