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Washington state: Solid prices & quality apple crop

This season’s Washington fresh apple crop came in larger than expected, and sales of the good-quality crop are coming along nicely. Estimates by the Washington State Tree Fruit Association dating August 2017 predicted a crop of 130.9 million 18 kg boxes, down from the 2016 crop of 132.9 million boxes. But the yields were larger than expected.

As of Jan. 22, the 2017 crop is estimated at 142.3 million boxes, said Tim Kovis, Washington State Tree Fruit Association spokesman. By the way, the (2014) record is 143.6 million boxes. Kovis said 49.9 million boxes had been shipped by Jan. 22, with about 34.3 million boxes going to domestic sales and about 15.5 million boxes being exported. “Mexico and Canada continue to be the largest export markets for our fruit, with 19 percent and 10 percent, respectively.” quoted Kovis as saying: “Gala has surpassed Red Delicious as the top-selling variety, followed by Reds and Fujis. Quality looks good overall.”

The Red Delicious remains the most numerous variety grown, with a projected 24 percent of production. The Gala is close behind at 22.5 percent, followed by Fuji at 14 percent, Granny Smith at 13 percent, Honeycrisp at 8 percent and Cripps Pink at 5 percent.

The Cosmic Crisp, developed by Washington State University, has been planted by many growers but is not yet on the market. The first Cosmic Crisps are expected to be available to consumers in 2019.

In 2016, Washington apple production was valued at $2.4 billion, with cherries at $503 million, grapes at $360 million and pears at $223 million. The state ranks first in the nation in production of apples, hops, spearmint oil, wrinkled seed peas, concord grapes, sweet cherries, pears, raspberries for processing, blueberries and aquaculture.

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