International Produce Training

Cherry Sizing

With the sweet cherry season arriving, now would be good time to clear up a little confusion.  When the cherries arrive from California or Washington State you will notice the different size designations on the containers.  You may receive cherries marked as “12 Row”, “11 Row” or even in half rows, such as “10-1/2 Row” or “11-1/2 Row’.  These row sizes do have specific size designations.

You may find it useful to size the cherries using one of the cherry sizers.  The first sizer pictured below is the cherry sizer used for cherries packed and shipped from California.

The second sizer, pictured below is the sizer used for cherries originating from Washington State.

The California Sizer has a few more row size designations, (12-1/2, 13 and 14 Row), but the minimum sizes for the remaining sizes are the same.  For example; if you receive sweet cherries marked 12 Row, that means not more than 5% of the cherries may be smaller than 54/64 of an inch.  Cherries marked 9 Row, means that not more than 5% of the cherries may be smaller than 75/64 of an inch.

The cherries are measured by holding the cherry by the stem and dropping it through the designated hole.  If the cherry passes through the hole, the cherry is considered undersize.  If you have a problem with the size you would want to count out 50 cherries at random and measure each one.  If 3 cherries passed through the sizer, based on 50 count, you would have 6% of the cherries being undersized, exceeding the tolerance for undersize.

For your convenience, listed below are the minimum size requirements:

  • 9 Row-               75/64″
  • 9-1/2 Row-      71/64″
  • 10 Row-            67/64″
  • 10-1/2 Row-   64/64″ (or 1 inch)
  • 11 Row-            61/64″
  • 11-1/2 Row-   57/64″
  • 12 Row-           54/64″

12 Comments on “Cherry Sizing”

olden timer Says:

When you say “count out 50 cherries at random” do you mean pick one from here, one for the other side of the box, some from the bottom of the box, etc? Please advise.

tyawman Says:

Thank you for your question, Mr. O’Timer. When counting out your 50 cherries you would select the cherries as if you were blindfolded, choosing a spot in the cherry carton, without specifically looking for small cherries or cherries with defects. Once you have chosen your spot in the container, sample straight down, from top to bottom, counting out your cherries.

Pedro Says:

need to know what row belongs to each size, example:

row 8 1/2 = Doble Jumbo (JJ)?
row 9=Jumbo(J)?
row 10 = XL?
row 11 = Large?


Heather Says:

What does 12 row mean though? 12 lay across the bottom of the box? Where did “ROW” come from?

tyawman Says:

Heather; years ago cherry shippers would place the cherries in neat rows on the top of the cherry lug. You are right, if they could lay 10 cherries in a neat row, they were called “10 row”, if the cherries were smaller, and they could place 12 cherries in a row, they were called “12 row.”

Cali Friend Says:

You are correct. Years ago cherries were packed using the face and fill method. Where a standard western lug would be hand packed upside down. Essentially, they were wooden lugs at the time and the lid would be nailed on and filled from the opposite end. They would then place pack the cherries in a row, so depending on the average size of the cherry, that is how many cherries would be packed in the row. 9 row cherries, 9 cherries in a row and so on. Hence the name row size. These lugs would have three top rows of place packed cherries and the remainder of the box would be volume filled. Once again, hence, the face and fill method. The size of the cherries that were volume filled were allowed to be no more than 2 sizes smaller than the size of the cherries packed in the face. The bottoms were then nailed onto the lugs. When the buyers would purchase the cherries and open the top, the display was beautiful.

O.G. Packing in Stockton, California still packs a specialty box this way. They are time consuming and expensive. So just a bit of nostalgia for you.

Produce Guy Says:

Thanks for all this info. I work for a large grocery chain and had no idea what ‘row’ meant. My guys were surprised I didn’t know but now I do thanks to you.

Anne Estrada Says:

Where can we purchase a California Cherry sizer?

ian a mcgeachan Says:

“doble jumbo” typo!!!
you mean “double jumbo”

L. McElroy Says:

Does CA values a 13-row cherry as fresh quality or is it a cull?

tyawman Says:

Not sure how CA values a 13 row cherry. Maybe someone can help answer your question.

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