Farmers bear burden of making Washington king of the cherry

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WENATCHEE – Convoys of headlights looked like glowworms in the predawn darkness Thursday morning as migrant workers coaxed aging vehicles up more than 1,500 feet of switchback roads to hilltop orchards above, one last great push in the harvest of the nation’s largest cherry crop.

Parking in the dirt, the workers milled about, waiting for Michelle Gutzwiler to hand out the cards that would track how many boxes each picker would fill. The cards, workers, boxes and vehicles made up the last act in Gutzwiler’s great annual gambit: that the previous eight months of work would pay off.

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