In the fresh market, current pricing on Washington fruit is $40 per carton on granny smith, close to $50 per carton on prime sized fujis. The lowest price on reds is near $26 and the lowest price on goldens is $36 per carton, one shipper told me.
Going into the fall, those prices will need to come down to maintain adequate momentum at retail, the marketer said. Reasonalbe pricing could ensure s "demand exceeds supply" scenario for all year long, he said, but top heavy prices could produce a "race to the bottom" if the market falters.
High processing prices will put the floor on fresh market fruit at $16-18 per carton he said.
The market will sort itself out, but he said a Washington f.ob. market in the mid-$30s could be the sweet spot for some varieties this year, he speculated.
Hail grade bagged fruit could be priced $3 lower than normal fruit, the marketer said. It is unknown how much hail grade fruit will be packed.
The pricier apples will open the door for retailers to give more space to pears, the Washington marketer said. At $1.99 per pound retail, pears will look like a bargain.
One thing is sure: I will have to quit looking for the $1 per pound apple deal at retail this year.