The Washington apple industry expects to ship fewer apples this season than first forecast.
According to the latest tally released today (November 7), the industry expects to pack and ship 113 million boxes of apples, down from the 120 million estimated in August, partly because of lower packouts.
Though the crop is 15 million boxes smaller than last year’s crop, it is still the second largest crop on record in Washington and other apple growing regions of the country have larger than average crops this year, resulting in more fruit on the domestic market.
The variety breakdown shows that in Washington the volume of all varieties except Granny Smith will be under the August estimate, with the Fuji crop more than 2 million boxes shorter than the predicted 16.5 million boxes, and Gala down 1 million from the 26.3 million estimated in August. The Honeycrisp figure dropped from 5.7 million to 5.0 million.
Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission, said that the quality of the Granny Smith apples is high, with more fully green fruit this season. Canada is the number-one Granny market, but Malaysia also imports a significant volume of Grannies to make into juice, as tart juice is thought to promote good health.
Apples this season are larger than average, so the Apple Commission is promoting heavily in export markets that take big apples, Fryhover said. Those include Canada, Mexico, Russia, and Central America.
“We’re really focusing our efforts in Central America,” he said. They’ll take larger fruit and that’s a bonus for us. We’re going full bore in those areas.”
The industry still had some Cripps Pink/Pink Lady apples to pick after the November storage report was compiled, so the final number could change. On average, the final crop volume is within 4 percent of the November estimate.