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Smaller Crop Fails To Boost Apple Prices

Apple growers anticipated higher prices from last fall’s smaller-thannormal crop. Instead nearly all varieties are selling for less than they did a year ago with a record-setting large crop, industry officials said.

A 42-pound box of regular storage Red Delicious is currently selling for $13.59 on average, according to figures from the Washington Growers Clearing House. Last year - one of the least profitable seasons ever, according to growers - the average price was $13.91. The last year in which most growers earned what they say is a reasonable profit was in 1995 when the price was above $16.

The two factors most commonly blamed for the price slump are Mexico’s 101 percent tariff on all apples imported from the United States and the Asian economic crisis. The currency devaluation in some Asian countries has put the cost of Washington apples out of reach of most consumers.

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