A tight supply of some apple varieties could be coming. “We had a lower crop in 2022-2023 and coming up we have a later crop so it could happen. We think a few varieties could get very tight before new crop becomes available,” says Mac Riggan with Chelan Fresh, who notes that the apple category is seeing pretty good demand right now. “In the past, we’ve seen summers like this where the demand gets crazy for Granny Smith, even if you raise the price on them.”
Riggan says SugarBee apples (seen here) will finish by the end of June.
For Chelan Fresh, SugarBee apples will also wrap up by the end of the month while Rockit supplies should go through to mid-September and likely avoid a gap.
Demand is still good for apples, even on the cusp of the summer lull in demand given the increased availability of summer fruit soon.
Apple crop outlook
Looking ahead, while it’s early, Riggan says Washington already anticipates a good crop that will be larger in growth in both conventional and organic varieties. The 2022-2023 Washington apple crop was a lower-than-normal-sized crop.
“The greatest amount of growth will probably come in Honeycrisp, Cosmic Crisp and Fuji--those three will probably account for the most growth between last year and this year,” he says. He also says the fruit size will be larger than last year following the 2022-2023 season’s challenges with sizing. “The fruit finish also seems to be good meaning we’re not seeing a bunch of off-shape or pre-season hail or frost marks on the fruit. We got through freeze season virtually unscathed so the finish on the apples this year should be good.”
Washington already anticipates a good apple crop that will be larger in growth in both conventional and organic varieties.
Apples will also likely be late, as are most commodities this year across North America. “With cherries, it’s a shorter window so being late will affect it more--it’s 60 days between bloom and pick for cherries versus apples at 120 days. So if cherries are two weeks late for example, apples may just be eight or nine days late because there are more days to make things up,” says Riggan.
All of this means promotable volumes are likely ahead on good fruit with consumer-friendly sizing.