This year’s Washington apple crop is nearly 20 percent smaller than last year’s record harvest, and the smallest to leave state orchards in five years.
Fresh apple production is at 77.3 million 42-pound boxes, down from last year’s 94.7 million boxes, according to post-harvest estimates released Wednesday by the Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association and the Wenatchee Valley Traffic Association.
On Aug. 1, the groups had forecast a harvest of 85.7 million boxes.
Growers left reeling by last year’s poor apple prices hope the smaller crop will raise the prices this year.
The key question is whether prices will rise enough to compensate for the drop in productivity, said Jim Doornik, chairman of the Washington State Tree Fruit Research Commission.