Two weeks ago, Washington had its largest volume of orders since 2015, shipping about 3.9 million boxes in one week, said Tim Kovis, communications manager for the Washington State Tree Fruit Association. A 40-pound box usually contains about 80 to 88 apples, depending on variety.
Although the overall demand for apples from foreign markets went down this week, the domestic demand is still greater than normal, making up for declines from trade disruptions to foreign markets.
“But it’s very difficult to know whether or not that (domestic increase) is due to the current COVID-19 issue or our ongoing trade issues that we’re facing,” Kovis said.
Packing warehouses have been following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Department of Health guidelines, ensuring workers wash their hands properly and stay home if they’re not feeling well, Kovis said.
Although Stemilt representatives declined a request for an interview, Roger Pepperl, the company’s marketing director, said in an email it’s important to be focused on every aspect of worker safety, especially during this time.