Thursday, December 13, 2012

Applepalooza 2012 exceeds everyone’s expectations

How ya like them apples?
We knew this year's apple crop would be big and we're no strangers to big. A couple of years ago our apple crop was massive: We hit a record 109.3 million 40-pound boxes, which had a $7 billion economic impact on the state. So yeah, when growers realized in August that this year's harvest might come close to the 2010 record despite hail damage in July, they said bring it on!
Except, after last year's farm labor shortage, which forced many to leave fruit on the trees, growers were afraid there might once again not be enough workers to pick the expected 4.3 billion (108 million 40-lb boxes) apples.
But wait, there's more.
In early November, the apple crop estimate for 2012 went up to 121.5 million boxes, clearly beating the previous record. That was huge news and a new milestone for the industry.
But wait, there's more.
This week, even Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission in Wenatchee, was taken aback when he learned the latest estimate for this year's apple crop is 129.7 million boxes!
That's an increase of 20.4 million boxes and 18.6 percent from the industry's prior record.
If anything should get credit for this jump in the last month, that would be the weather. According to Dan Kelly, assistant manager of Washington Growers Clearing House Association, thanks to good weather there were more picking days, which meant more fruit could be harvested even with a shortage of pickers. He explained that fruit passed over early was picked later allowing it to grow larger in size, which also contributed to a more bountiful crop.

Read this story in Spanish here.