Cherries are the embodiment of summer. Even when in season, these bad guys are sweet, juicy, and pricey. But why is it the case? Why are cherries such a high-priced item when other fruits are more cost-effective?
There are quite a few reasons why cherries are so expensive, and understanding what they are can help you control costs a bit better.
What’s The Deal With Cherries Being So Expensive?
Cherries are pricey because they are a seasonal crop, and consumers want a lot of them while they are available. There’s also an issue with the birds. They tend to consume and destroy a large number of cherry crops before these crops are harvested.
To put it another way, there aren’t enough cherries to go around. Cherries, like any other crop, are weather-dependent. A terrible spell of weather can result in a low yield, very bland cherries that can’t be sold, or just fewer cherries.
When looking into the reasons for a relatively higher cost, we can’t split one type from the other, and both sweet and sour cherries will go into the “same basket” for cost analysis. Several factors drive up the prices for these fruity treats, and understanding them can give you a decent idea of how you might mitigate them.
Reason #1: Cherries Are A Seasonal Crop That Only Lasts A Few Weeks
First and foremost, cherries are a summer crop. The southern zones will blossom and fruit first as America spreads from warmer to colder zones. So the window in which these cherries can be plucked is distributed between late April and the end of August (based on individual cherry type). They’re at their sweetest in mid-July, when they’re at their height.
But even such a clever harvesting process can only go so far. Cherries are only available in their fresh form throughout the summer. From the fall to the spring, they’re exclusively available in canned or frozen form. Imported Turkish cherries are available, but not in the dead of winter.
Reason #2: The Demand For Fresh Cherries Is Great
Because cherries are so tasty when they’re fresh, they’re in high demand after they hit the market. This is something that all seasonal fruits and vegetables have in common. Consider the vegetable asparagus.
Asparagus can be found in abundance as spring arrives. In the produce section, there are fresh, raw asparagus bunches. They’re all gone by the middle of spring, and the price increases or even triples.
Cherries are similar in appearance. And, because they spoil rapidly (unlike strawberries), they must be sold near the farms or transported promptly to retailers across the country. That is an additional charge that you may not have been aware of.
Reason # 3: Birds Are A Significant Nuisance On Cherry Farms
Pests are present in every crop. Pests will come from all over to eat your hard work once your crop produces its first fruits (or vegetables). Crows are the worst offenders because they consume the seedlings. There are no crops in that area.
One issuer here is that cherries are harvested from the same tree each year. And ideally, no planting seeds are lost. The seeds (pits) inside the fresh fruit, on the other hand, are frequently taken immediately off the tree. What kind of birds are these? The range of fruit-eating birds is quite extensive. It ranges from House finches to American robins. And you can’t discount the commonplace mockingbirds and Blue Jays as well.
So when a farmer sells them and needs to make a profit, all these losses are factored into the price, making the price tag a bit heavier.
Reason # 4: They Can Only Grow In Certain Climates
Cherry trees are tough to grow and can only be found in certain climates. Even people who adore cherries will have a difficult time growing them in their own gardens. Because cherry can only be farmed in few places, their demand is much stronger.
You’ll note that if you reside in a region where cherries are plentiful, and there are many cherry farms, your price is likely to be lower. If you reside in a cold climate where a cherry tree is unlikely to survive, you should expect to pay considerably more for fresh cherries.
This incorporates a supply and demand idea similar to that seen in the fruit industry. Fruit might be scarce in some parts of the country. Because of their climate, these folks are accustomed to all fruit being imported and thus costing a significant amount of money.
Reason # 5: The Heavy Cost Of Fungicides
Indeed, if you want to spend a lot of money on cherries, search for organic varieties. Cherries are a difficult crop to grow, particularly when it comes to rainfall and how fickle cherry trees can be. If there is a lot of rain during a season, cherries are more likely to have a fungus.
As a result, a fungicide will be required to preserve the cherries in good health and prevent them from rotting totally. Farmers will have to spend a lot of money to utilize a safe and effective fungicide.
Of course, some alternatives may be less expensive to spray, but they are not as safe for humans to consume. High-quality fungicides will have a substantial impact on the entire cost of producing cherries for the farmer and thus on the cost of the cherries, you buy in the store. After all, farming is much like any other company.
These costs will be reflected in the price of the product in order for everyone along the road to make a fair amount of profit. You will pay more as a consumer if the farmer has to pay more to produce the cherries that year. Given that none of us would be able to buy cherries if it weren’t for these farmers, this isn’t something you should be too upset about.
Reason # 6: Rainfall-Related Issues
A farmer can do everything right when it comes to planting and caring for cherries, but they have no control over the weather. Cherries frequently have a poor crop in years when there is a lot of rain. The wet season opens up a lot of opportunities for fungus, which can affect the size and quality of the harvest.
Although certain crops will thrive in the rain, cherry will have difficulties, and frost can also be an issue. Essentially, if farmers want an exceptional season with plenty of cherries, they’ll need ideal weather conditions. If the ideal weather circumstances do prevail, you might witness a drop in the price of cherries. If you have a bad season, you are more likely to see an increase than if you have a good season.
Reason # 7: Transportation Costs
One of the most pressing challenges is that cherries are still in high demand around the world.
It will cost a lot of money for cherries to travel from their preferred climate to the far reaches of the globe, where they are in high demand. Transportation is one of the most expensive expenses we face.
As a consumer, you’ll have to pick up the cost of cherry transportation, as it moves from the farm to the grocery store, covering anywhere from a few to more than a thousand miles in between. If your stores are located on cherry farms, you may be able to offer lower prices. If your stores and the farm where the cherries are coming from are thousands of miles apart, the cost will naturally be quite high and will be reflected in the cherries you buy. This is one of those situations where avoiding it will be quite impossible.
There will always be logistics fees associated with obtaining cherries until you move closer to a cherry farm. Because perfecting these cherries is tough, farmers will not simply give them away if the weather cooperates. Since so much time and effort has already gone into the process, it is critical to maintaining fair pricing for the farmers.
This is also one of the reasons why prices do not decline in the middle of the season. During the winter season, some regions will have fruits and vegetables transported in from far away. Food may be readily available in the general area during the warmer months. This allows customers to save money on their food purchases.
This isn’t the case with cherries, which is why you’ll notice pricing that is nearly constant throughout the year.
Reason # 8: Cherries Are Heavily Exported From Turkey
A large number of cherries are imported into the United States from just one country, i.e., Turkey, which is not as close as you might want it to be (for the sake of Cherry prices). This affects domestic cherry prices, as American cherries now appear to be more expensive than Turkish cherries. Or, at the very least, more costly than normal.
That isn’t to argue that this is the only reason cherries are so pricey. We’re merely pointing out that it’s a component of the wider picture that can influence consumer perceptions of price. Let’s take a look at what’s going on here.
Turkey subsidizes cherry production. The cherries will be sold by a cherry grower to middlemen and supermarkets, who will then sell them in America. Even with all of the additional taxes, transportation costs, and price markups, imported Turkish cherries are still less expensive than domestic American cherries.
Many cherry producers are irritated by this, and the problem persists. If you’re wondering what the problem is with subsidized crops, it basically means that the government helps farmers out. It is easier on the farmer’s purse, whether it be grants, loans, free land to cultivate the crop, or just covering a portion of the expenses.
This means that consumers will pay less because farmers (and, as a result, middlemen) will not have to raise prices to make a profit.
Yes, America’s crops and industries are subsidized. The only difference is that cherries aren’t on the list. Corn, soybeans (for oil), and beef, on the other hand, are among the top ten crops, so they will always be available.
Cherries are expensive, but there are a lot of steps you can take to mitigate or control this cost. These steps range from preserving berries using household methods to buying in bulk during the peak season, but make sure you do your research beforehand.