Overall crop is slightly down year-over-year, but organics and popular varietals that are key economic and image drivers for Washington state continue to grow in importance
Yakima, WA (August 15, 2022) – The Washington State Tree Fruit Association (WSTFA) released its forecast for the 2022 Washington state fresh apple crop today.
The full crop is projected to be 108.7 million standard forty-pound boxes of fresh apples, a 11.1% decrease from 2021’s 122.3 million boxes. However, emerging varieties and organic production continue to grow in importance as a share of the overall crop, reflecting increased consumer preference.
“We are pleased with the size of the harvest, particularly in the face of a long, cold spring,” said Jon DeVaney, WSTFA President. “Growing seasons are never the same, and currently many WSTFA members are still evaluating the impact of prolonged cold weather and ongoing crop development. Weather is always a factor, and some varieties still have several months of growth ahead. However, our members are to be congratulated for once again managing this uncertainty to deliver a strong harvest for the benefit of our state, country, and ultimately the world.”
The estimate shows that five popular apple varieties make up the majority of the harvest. Gala leads production at 20%, Red Delicious and Honeycrisp are each projected at 14%, followed by Granny Smith at 13.4%, and Fuji at 12.7% of total production. Cosmic Crisp, a proprietary varietal grown only in Washington state continues to grow in its share of the total crop. This year, Cosmic Crisp is 4.6% of the harvest, up from 3.2% last year.
“The strong harvest estimate for these varieties, which have been popular with domestic and international consumers, is good news. Apples are synonymous with Washington state, and our members are set to deliver another year of high-quality and delicious fruit,” added DeVaney.
Washington apples are sold in over 40 countries and are a centerpiece in domestic grocery produce departments. They are also vital to the state’s economy and are its leading agricultural commodity. Apples represented 20% of the state’s farm-gate agricultural value in 2020. On average, 30% of the harvest is exported.
Washington also leads the nation in the production of organic apples with over 90% of the country’s output. The organic forecast for 2022, is 14.4 million boxes, or 13% of the total harvest. It should be noted that not all organic production is packed and marketed as organic.
“Apples are a symbol of Washington,” said Derek Sandison, Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “Wherever I go in the world, the minute I say I’m representing Washington, people tell me how much they love our apples. The apple harvest is also vitally important to our state’s economy, representing approximately $7.5 billion in annual economic impact. Although they have faced many challenges this year, I wish the workforce and the state’s growers success as they begin another great harvest.”
The apple harvest estimate is based on a survey of WSTFA members and represents the best forecast of the total volume of apples that will eventually be packed and sold on the fresh market (excluding product sent to processors). Apple harvest typically begins in August and continues into November, and as a result, this forecast is still subject to several months of variable weather which can affect the final harvest total. For the most current update on the harvest, contact WSTFA.
About the Washington State Tree Fruit Association
The Washington State Tree Fruit Association (WSTFA) represents the growers, packers and marketers of Washington apples, pears, and sweet cherries. The association provides education and training, data and statistics for informed market and production decisions, and public and government advocacy for the industry. Washington is the nation’s leading producer of these three important crops, with a farm-gate production of over $2.8 billion, accounting for 30% of the state’s agricultural production value. In an average year, the apple harvest alone produced a total economic impact to the state of $7.5 billion and supported nearly 40,000 direct jobs and 21,000 indirect jobs in support industries in the state. To learn more, visit www.wstfa.org
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