Galas — like these picked last year — will make up 24 percent of the total apple crop this season in Washington, making it the most popular apple by volume. Red Delicious is expected to be second at 21.5 percent. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Washington apple growers expect to harvest 131 million boxes of apples this year, down just 2 percent from last year’s haul of 134 million, according to a news release today (Aug. 7, 2018) from the Washington State Tree Fruit Association.
Washington’s apple industry measures production in 40-pound box equivalents; 131 million boxes works out to 2.62 million tons.
Growers expect organic production to continue its rising share of the market, with 18.9 million boxes, or 14 percent of the total crop, according to the release.
Meanwhile, the state may get a new top apple for the first time in decades. Gala is expected to become the state’s most popular apple by volume with 24 percent of the crop, pushing Red Delicious to second place at 21.5 percent, followed by Fuji at 13.5 percent, Granny Smith at 13 percent, Honeycrisp at 10.8 percent and Cripps Pink at 4.5 percent.
The Yakima-based association surveys its members each August, right when harvest starts, to predict what volume will be packed and sold on the fresh market from Washington, far and away the leading producer in the United States. The number could change with weather through the end of harvest in November and market dynamics throughout the year-long 2018-2019 shipping season.
Other states will chime in with their prediction later this month when the U.S. Apple Association holds its annual Apple Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference, an industry meeting in Chicago.
The original version of this story has been corrected to report that 2018 is the first year that Gala is the state’s apple with the most volume.
Ross Courtney is an associate editor for Good Fruit Grower, writing articles and taking photos for the print magazine and website. He has a degree from Pacific Lutheran University. -- Follow the author -- Contact: 509-930-8798 or email.