There are numerous reasons for loving this industry: working closely with the hard-working growers who produce the highest quality apples in the world, impacting consumers around the world to choose Washington State apples over other alternatives, developing a strategic plan with your Board of Directors, and executing this plan with the support of the excellent WAC staff. The most important reason for me, however, is not listed above because it’s more abstract—every single day is unique unto itself providing not an uneventful moment! And unto this, who would have predicted the 2010-2011 Washington apple crop would be the largest ever produced—certainly not me, and I would guess not you, either.
As we surpass the previous total crop record of 2008-2009, Washington’s apple exports will surpass 36 million cartons—a new record as well.
This season, most markets are over-achieving with the exception of the European Union, and we’ll save this for another ‘rant’. For the first time, Taiwan will be displaced as our #3 export market by India. Washington could export over 3 million cartons this season to India, which is truly amazing considering we have only been exporting there since 1999.
Indonesia is another success story and could surpass 2 million cartons, which hasn’t been achieved since the 2002-2003 crop. Numerous other markets are performing well, also, like China (+22%), UAE (+32.7%), Jordan (+34.8%), and Vietnam (+55.1%) compared to last season. And, as our crop volumes continue to increase, every single market is a critical component to your success as new markets become fewer in number.
Clearly, ‘what we export’ is an important question, also. With over 4½ months remaining in our export season, Red Delicious leads the way with 44.4% of the total. Clearly, the Red Delicious percentage will increase as Southern Hemisphere new crop apples arrive in export markets, minimizing opportunities for Galas and Fujis. Gala makes up 22.2%, Fuji 10.4%, Golden Delicious 9.4% and Granny Smith 8.6%.
To round out the total export quantity, the ‘other’ variety column is 5%. This would be all of the limited quantity varieties to include Honeycrisp (not limited for long!), Cripps Pink, Jonagold, Braeburn and club varieties. So knowing ‘what’ we export is important, too.