Large U.S. apple crop expected
The nation’s fall apple crop is expected to be a big one, with a potential record crop in Washington offsetting lighter crops in the two other main apple-producing states, New York and Michigan.
Early estimates from the Premier Apple Cooperative in New York and the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association indicate the national fresh and processing apple crop could reach 260 million 40-pound boxes, the third-largest crop on record.
There could be an oversupply of apples nationally, but a huge national crop is more manageable now than in previous years. That’s due to a better varietal mix and quality and to fast food restaurants using more apple slices.
While Virginia production is a long way, volume-wise, from that of Washington, the commonwealth is the nation’s sixth-largest producer of apples in both volume and acreage. Virginia orchards produced 4.6 million bushels of apples in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. More than half of last year’s crop was sold for processing into products like apple juice and applesauce.
“Right now our crop here in Virginia appears to be fair,” said Spencer Neale, director of commodity marketing for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “There have been reports of damaging hail in some orchards, too much moisture in some and not enough in others. It very much depends on the region. The next few weeks will be critical to finishing the crop, and then we will begin to see exactly what we have.”