Huge crops a ‘new normal’ for Washington apples

05/16/2013 10:00:00 AM
Andy Nelson

“It’s going to pose some challenges here in the U.S. Export becomes a very valuable market.”

The 2013 crop likely won’t top the 2012 crop, said John Onstad of Yakima-based Sage Fruit Co.

But he agrees that volumes have reached a new plateau they won’t likely come down from. Next season’s crop, for instance, could top out near 120 million boxes, he said.

“This is the new normal.”

Markets strong through summer

Onstad expects a strong finish to the 2012-13 season.

“Right now we’re feeling very good about finishing the 2012 crop,” he said. “It appears that most varieties will go right up to the new crop.”

With the exception of braeburns and jonagolds, Sage Fruit won’t likely need any imports to fill the gaps heading into summer and fall harvests, Onstad said.

And with the possible exception of reds and fujis, markets for most Washington varieties should actually strengthen this summer, he said.

“We expect to see an uptick on a lot of things starting around June 1.”

Domex expects to ship all five of its main varieties — red delicious. golden delicious, granny smiths, fujis and galas — in promotable volumes up to the 2013 harvests, Nager said.

Red, golden and granny markets will likely stay steady for the balance of the deal, but gala and fuji markets should strengthen, Nager said.

With Southern Hemisphere apple imports down, Washington grower-shippers aren’t worried about moving through this year’s bumper crop, Kelly said.

“We’re pretty close to where we need to be, maybe slightly behind. The pricing’s not as good as it was, but it’s still pretty good.”


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