PASCO, Wash. (AP) -- Northwest cherry growers expect a smaller crop this year than the 2009 record but with a longer harvest period, which should extend sales.

Growers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah met Wednesday in Pasco for a meeting of the 5-State Cherry Commission. They estimate the 2010 crop at about 153,000 tons. Last year's crop was more than 195,000 tons.

President B.J. Thurlby told the Tri-City Herald this could be a better year for growers because last year's crop came in all at once, inundating packing houses.

Growers expect larger fruit and more picking days in June will give stores plenty of Northwest cherries by the Fourth of July weekend.

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Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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