Washington apple growers estimate a crop of 108.7 million 40-pound box equivalents, down 11 percent from last year’s harvest.

Adverse weather during bloom and a prolonged, cool spring has dampened overall production, said a news release from the Washington State Tree Fruit Association. “However, emerging varieties and organic production continue to grow in importance as a share of the overall crop, reflecting increased consumer preference,” the release said.

The Yakima-based nonprofit group that represents Washington tree fruit producers in state issues tallied its annual crop forecast earlier this month. Figures frequently change as the harvest season progresses.

Gala apples are expected to lead the way with 22.2 million boxes. If the estimates hold, Red Delicious will come in second with 15.9 million boxes, closely followed by Honeycrisp at 15.6 million.

Growers expect to harvest 5 million boxes of WA 38, Washington’s newest variety, marketed as Cosmic Crisp, according to the figures. That would be nearly 29 percent greater than the 2021 crop. In fact, WA 38 is the only variety on the association’s list expected to grow in volume this year.

Organic apples are estimated at 14.4 million boxes, about 13 percent of the overall crop. Organics comprised about 12 percent of the 2021 harvest.

by Ross Courtney