Washington apple growers expect to harvest 134 million boxes in 2020, according to the crop forecast released by the Washington State Tree Fruit Association. That’s very close to the 2019 harvest, which came in at 133.9 million boxes.

“Harvest is underway and growers anticipate being able to meet strong consumer demand with an ample and high-quality harvest,” said Jon DeVaney, WSTFA president, in the news release. The forecast is based on a survey of WSTFA members estimating apple volumes heading to the fresh market, and it excludes processed fruit.

The large crop comes on the heels of a tough marketing season for the 2019 crop: A record number of apples remaining in storage after coronavirus disruptions and trade wars reduced exports and pushed down prices. At the same time, coronavirus safety measures are raising the costs of production in orchards and packing houses. (See Industry eyeing apples aplenty.)

The organic sector continues to grow and should comprise 16 percent of the crop, or 21 million boxes. That’s up from 15 million in 2019. 

Gala will be the top variety, at 23 percent of the harvest, followed by Red Delicious at 17 percent, Fuji at 14 percent, and Granny Smith and Honeycrisp at 13 percent, according to the WSTFA release. Cosmic Crisp is predicted to be 1.2 percent of the total crop. 

—by Kate Prengaman