Pennsylvania’s apple crop is down slightly but is meeting solid demand.
In April, the state saw warm temperatures that were thought to prompt an early crop—however, temperatures dropped causing a small bit of frost damage. “Overall, the crop is about 75 percent of last year’s crop,” says Brenda Briggs of Rice Fruit Co. in Gardners, PA. “However, supplies are good.”
While the season started about 10 days behind thanks to those weather events, Rice Fruit has harvested its early apples including Ginger Golds, Galas and Honeycrisp and it’s now moving into Reds, Golds and early Fujis. “When the crop load is down, we expect larger apples, but sizing so far is medium to small. Some varieties like Honeycrisp that typically produce large apples are sizing well. We have few jumbo sizes that are hard to find a home for,” says Briggs. “We have an excellent supply for bags this year as well and a nice volume in primary sizes. We’re seeing this pattern repeat itself in the Red and Gold harvest while Galas are continuing their normal tendency toward a smaller size profile. Our Gala tend to have more bags than trays.”
Brenda Briggs, VP Sales and Marketing and Ben Rice, President
Photo credit: Valerie M. Ramsburg
Going to November
While Pennsylvania apples generally wrap up harvest in late October, early November, this year given the later start, harvest will likely run into November.
As for demand for Pennsylvania apples, it’s also good, says Briggs. “We’re nicely busy, and sometimes very busy, so the fall is getting off to a wonderful start,” she says.
Meanwhile pricing is similar to last year. “Pricing is a little stronger than last year and this important because costs are up quite a bit. We’re just getting started so the first to market items have made a brisk entrance into the market,” says Briggs.