WENATCHEE, WA (September 2015)
Washington State’s apple harvest for the 2015 season is in full swing, and growers expect to harvest an estimated 121 – 125 million cartons (2.3 million MT). This is 10.5% lower than the record harvest in 2014, but could still be the third largest crop in the State’s history. Warm weather in early summer contributed to a harvest window that started an average of two weeks early, and a return to typical weather patterns of warm days and cool nights has created the ideal conditions for bringing on color over the past several weeks.
Gala is the first major variety to come off the trees, and picking is finishing up in most districts. New plantings continue to come into full production, pushing the variety into second place with estimated volume of over 29 million cartons, slightly less than the 2014 harvest.
Harvest for Honeycrisp began the first week of September, with overall production volume expected to increase to almost 9 million cartons for the 2015 season. Despite the 33% increase in volume from 2014, strong consumer demand in the US means that there will still be limited volumes available for export to overseas markets.
Red Delicious continues to be the largest percentage of the crop, although production for 2015 is predicted to decrease by over 25% versus the previous season, with volume estimated at 31 million cartons.
Golden Delicious continues to decline in production volume as many growers have shifted to newer varieties or pulled out orchards altogether. The estimate for 2015 is the lowest since 1973, when the overall Washington apple crop was only 32 million cartons!
Harvest for Granny Smith and Fuji will pick up in the coming weeks, although some volume is already available from growing districts in warmer areas and lower elevations. Early estimates indicate that Fuji volumes could come in lower than the estimated 17 million cartons, but Granny Smith sizing and availability look promising, with production estimates holding steady to 2014 volumes.
Historically one-third of the Washington apple crop is exported to over 60 different countries. The Washington Apple Commission is a grower-funded organization that is charged with promoting the Washington brand in international markets. The Commission does not sell apples directly to importers; this is done by individual Washington apple sales organizations.
For more information on the Washington apple industry and Washington Apple Commission, please visit www.bestapples.com.
Contact: Rebecca Lyons, Washington Apple Commission