Recent windstorms, wildfires reduce Washington’s apple crop

Washington’s 2019 apple crop one of the largest in history

WENATCHEE, Wash. — The Washington Apple Commission is expecting a lighter crop volume for the upcoming apple harvest due to recent windstorms and wildfires.

In early August, the first estimate for the state’s apple crop predicted a volume of 134 million, 40-pound boxes. That was on par with the previous season of 133 million boxes.

However, since the time of the initial estimate, extreme windstorms and wildfires on the West Coast have impacted the crop. According to the WAC, a strong windstorm over Labor Day weekend knocked apples off trees and caused damage to some trellis systems.

Wildfires have produced smoky conditions, delaying harvest a few days and causing some growers to halt operations.

The WAC expects a 5-10 percent reduction in crop volume as a result of the recent weather events.

Washington apple growers began harvesting Galas in late August and have moved on to Honeycrisp. The state’s harvest typically begins in mid-August and continues through November. Red Delicious, Fuji and Cosmic Crisp apples will be harvested in October and the season will wrap up in November with Granny Smith and Cripps Pink.

Washington is the leading producer of apples, representing 65 percent of all U.S. fresh apple production. The state exports one-third of its fresh crop to over 60 markets worldwide, accounting for 95 percent of all U.S. apple exports.

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