Report reveals organic trends
Acreage in transition to organic has steadily declined for all Washington tree fruits since peaking in 2007. That’s one of the trends revealed in a new Washington State University Extension report “Status of Organic Tree Fruit in Washington State.”
The report is a compendium of data on organic tree fruits that David Granatstein and Elizabeth Kirby, of WSU’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, have collected over the years from industry and other sources. The report reveals historical trends and includes information on sales volumes and national and global acreage trends. Washington State is the leading U.S. producer of fresh organic apples, pears, and cherries.
Organic apples represented almost 10 percent of the state’s apple acreage and 7 percent of production in 2010. Certified apple acreage dropped by 6 percent to 14,800 acres between 2009 and 2010. However, the organic sales volume increased from 5.9 to 6.8 million boxes during the same period. Growth in sales was likely due, in part, to less diversion of organic fruit to conventional markets, Granatstein and Kirby report.
The volume of organic pears from Washington was 649,000 boxes in 2010, a 50 percent increase from 2005. That represented 6 percent of the state’s pear production in 2010. There were just over 2,000 acres of organic pears in the state in 2010.
Cherry acreage declined by 12 percent in 2010 to 2,147 acres, following significant growth in each of the previous five years. The volume of organic cherries shipped was just under 245,000 boxes, which was 2.7 percent of the total cherry crop. The average price for Washington organic cherries in 2010 was $57 a box.