From the Stockton Record:

San Joaquin County cherry growers, on the verge of harvesting the region's premiere Bing variety beginning this weekend, look forward to a crop of average size and good quality.

That would be a welcome change from 2011, when late spring rains wiped out much of the valuable crop, causing losses estimated at $146 million. While last year's final production numbers are not available, the county's fresh market cherry crop in 2010 was valued at $179 million.

"As growers, we all need a good year," said Skip Foppiano, who grows cherries and nut and vegetable crops as well as runs Morada Produce Co., a packing operation east of Stockton.

San Joaquin County, the heart of California's cherry industry, avoided some of the problems seen in other parts of the Central Valley, such as frosts in the south and damaging hailstorms in the mid-Valley.

"For the most part, the quality is very good. The market is very good," Foppiano said Tuesday. "Mother Nature allowing, we should have a nice, profitable season for the growers."

For more, see: Cherry crop projections are strong