Area of red delicious apples in Washington state has dropped from more than 121,000 acres in 1986 to about 43,000 acres this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service shows that Honeycrisps have shot up from just 300 acres in 2001 to more than 9,000 acres this year.

The 67-page tree fruit report  has extensive acreage and variety information on apples, pears, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, prunes, plums and tart cherries.
The report also lists organic fruit acreage.

Todd Fryhover, president of the Wenatchee-based Washington Apple Commission, said the report will be useful to the commission and marketers as the industry prepares for future crops.
Since 2003, the apple commission only conducts promotional activities for Washington apples in export markets.

“We are going to sit down as a group and look at it and see how we can use that for our marketing planning for the next five years,” he said.

“This gives direction that we didn’t have before.”

In general, Fryhover said the report confirmed industry trends regarding the rise of Honeycrisp.

Specialty varieties

The survey also shows acreage of club varieties in Washington are still limited.

“There are a lot of club varieties out there but the acreages are still relatively limited, so from a promotion standpoint with the Washington Apple Commission, that gives us a more concrete perspective.”

The commission can’t promote exclusive club varieties to export markets, but representatives can alert buyers what sales organizations have those varieties.

Fryhover said acreage trends in the report indicated the industry is in a growth mode and there is the potential for a 120-million-box crop in the future.

But weather and other variables make predicting future crop size difficult, he said.

“Labor could be the big factor that could limit it almost instantaneously,” Fryhover said.