Califonia Bountiful

Cherry harvest in California

The sweet treat is a springtime favorite for farmers

For third-generation farmer Joe Cataldo, springtime is both a brilliant and busy time because he's got one chance to get his family's main crop off of trees and into people's hands. Such is the life of a cherry farmer in California! California cherries are the first of the season to hit the market, so there is anticipation by both growers and consumers to get the best fruit they can. For farmers like Joe, they depend on a skilled group of employees to ensure the best of the best is harvested.

Once harvested, the cherries make a short trip to the nearby packing shed, where they take a quick bath and get inspected every which way you can imagine. First stop: the optical sorter, which takes up to 32 pictures of each cherry! After their photo shoot of sorts, the cherries are further sorted and selected for top quality and then packaged. From there, the cherries will go on to retail locations all over the Golden State and beyond. California, along with Washington and Oregon, are the primary sweet cherry-producing states—accounting for almost 90% of the nationwide supply. And no matter who buys his cherries and where, farmers like Joe are just happy to see their year-round hard work come to fruition!

For more information about California cherries, visit

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