Washington's big crop helps ease apple "shortage"

10/09/2012 09:56:00 AM
Tom Karst

National Editor Tom KarstThere is no apple shortage, but apples are short.

It is semantics and splitting hairs to delineate between the two, perhaps,  but the lack of local apple in some parts of the East and Midwest is drawing increasing media coverage. The subplot, however, is that Washington's already ample apple crop is getting under cover with bigger than expected yields.

On the Today Show website, this story insisted "Apple 'shortage' unlikely despite damage to nation's crop."  Other coverage said apple cider is "like the caviar of the produce department."

From the story from Today:

Local apples may be hard, or impossible, to find in the more heavily dinged geographies, but overall you should see full bins of apples at the supermarket throughout the year. The most commonly produced apple in America, the Red Delicious, is actually seeing slightly lower prices this year from last, down .025 dollars from a year ago. Otherwise prices for early varietals are running about a dime more per pound than a year ago.

Later in the story:

"Right now, we are expecting no shortage and should be able to keep the apple supply steady," the U.S. Apple Association's Mark Gedris told NBC News. "We don't expect people to be paying more for apple pies this Thanksgiving." It's not until the spring that shoppers might notice changes at the supermarket level, although by then imports from Chile and New Zealand can start to pick up some of the slack.

 

A quick look at USDA reported apple shipments so far this season indicate that season to date apple shipments through the end of September were up strongly for Washington shippers but way off for Michigan, as we would expect. Washington apple shipments through Sept. 29 totaled 4,896 (40,000 pound) truckloads, up 38% from the 3,549 truckloads shipped through the same time a year ago.

Meanwhile, Michigan apple shipments through the end of September totaled only 291 (40,000 pound) truckloads, off 74% from the 1,106 truckloads shipped through the same time a year ago. New York apple shipments so far this year are not too far off last year's mark, with 889 truckloads shipped so far, down 9% from the 979 truckloads shipped the same period a year ago.


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