US (CA): Hot summer weather affected apple quality

Sustained high temperatures throughout the summer affected the quality of some apples in California this year. While production was on par with previous years, portions of this year's crop were not shipped due to quality issues. Combined with shortages in other apple-growing regions throughout the United States, strong early demand brought good prices throughout this year's apple deal.

“I think we had better yields last year because we had a mild summer last year,” noted Lance Shebelut of Trinity Farms. “This last summer was one of the hottest on record, and that really took a toll on fruit quality and sizing – it was very detrimental to the fruit.” Undersized and sunburned fruit was weeded out from shipments, so even though trees produced good volumes of fruit this year, supplies of fruit to consumers was hampered.

“The quality that ends up in a box is the same in any given year, so the quality to consumers is always the same,” said Shebelut. “We even picked more fruit than last year, but because portions of it were affected, mostly by sunburn, we had to weed out some fruit, and that lowered volumes.”

Demand was strong throughout the season, which has just about wrapped up, with early apple varieties performing better than later apples, noted Atomic Torosian, general manager for Crown Jewels Produce Company.

“Demand was especially high on the front end for Gala and Granny Smith apples,” he said. “Other varieties, like Pink Lady, Braeburn and Fiji, didn't have that same level of demand.” Because of that demand, fed, in part, by shortages in other apple-growing states, prices were good.

“We came into wide-open markets,” said Torosian. “Movement was good and prices were good, so I think the season went fairly well.”

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