Japan isn’t the only nation buying more Washington apples.
Shipments to Taiwan, Brazil and Russia are booming, putting exports on a record pace for the year, apple shippers said Thursday.
Washington growers have shipped 14.9 million boxes abroad since the start of the Sept. 1 marketing year, compared to 11.7 million boxes during the same period a year ago.
A record 25 million boxes were exported last year. A box of apples weighs 42 pounds.
Exports to Pacific Rim countries, including Japan, have showed the biggest gains this year. Record shipments to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Russia have increased total sales by nearly two million boxes, the Washington Apple Commission said.
“The entry into Japan seemed to energize sales overall,” said Terry Elwell, export marketing director for the Wenatchee-based promotional group.
A drop in the price of some apple varieties also may have helped. Sales of golden Delicious apples are averaging $11.87 per packed box, 29 percent less than the $16.65 fetched this time last year, said the Washington Growers Clearinghouse in Wenatchee. Red Delicious, typically the biggest sellers, are selling for $11.29 per box, 7 percent below last year’s price.
Apple growers have a lot of fruit to move. A record 94.9 million boxes were picked last fall and 53.8 million boxes still remain in storage, according to the Wenatchee Valley Traffic Association.
Apple exports, the commission said, are up significantly in the Middle East to Saudi Arabia and Dubai, and in Europe to the United Kingdom.
Sales to Brazil and Colombia have kept Latin America ahead of last year’s pace in spite of a dramatic drop in sales to financially troubled Mexico. Devaluation of the Mexican peso curbed shipments by 900,000 boxes compared with a year ago.
Exports also are down to Canada, Venezuela, Thailand, Belgium, Netherlands and Greece.