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Washington sees an excess on small apples

Apples out of Washington are a tale of two sorts.

“There’s the retail side—so the nice big bright shiny apples consumers see in the stores. And then the institutional side for schools, jails, things like that meaning the smaller apples that we sell a lot of the bulk to,” says Jeff Aguigui of Ag Grower Sales LLC in Wenatchee, Wa. “We’ve not had a good growing year as far as the larger-sized apples so it’s not a very good year for retail. And for institutional apples, there’s an excess of small fruit this year. I haven’t seen this excess in at least 15 years.”

Aguigui notes that the Washington apple growing season was a challenging one not conducive to growing larger apples. “We didn’t have a lot of water all summer—we had a lot of sunshine and it was really hot and that means they don’t grow,” says Aguigui, who notes Ag Grower sources its apples from growing regions such as Wenatchee and Yakima, Wa. regions. “Perfect growing conditions are warm during the day and cooler nights. We weren’t getting those cooler nights so these apples really didn’t grow.” 

Sizing effects
On the retail side, that means the traditional sizing has gone down somewhat—while most of the apples are an 88 to 100 count, this year, they’re closer to a 64-80 count. “And the demand isn’t as good as it’s been in the past,” says Aguigui. “There’s a lot out there.”

That’s pushed prices in two directions of course. “Prices are probably down on the institutional side 25-40 percent compared to last year’s prices,” says Aguigui. “And the retail side is up slightly because we don’t have bigger apples. Prices are up by at least 20 percent on retail.”

Looking ahead, Aguigui notes that growers are trying to clear out their small apples particularly. “We’ve got other seasons coming up such as cherry season and people are getting ready for that. Most of the apple people have a cherry line so they have to focus on that and get these apples done before them,” he says. “Otherwise they’re sitting on them after the cherry season and they have another problem on their hands.”

For more information:
Jeff Aguigui
Ag Grower Sales LLC
Tel: +1-509 886-7016

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