A ‘long, cold spring’ is impacting fruit crops in Washington

The Washington apple harvest is expected to be a little lower this year due to the long, cold spring. The state’s apples are sold in over 40 countries and are the state’s primary agricultural product, accounting for 20% of the state’s agricultural farm gate value in 2020. On average, 30% of the harvest is exported.

Washington Apple Commission

The Washington apple crop is expected to be a bit smaller this year due to the cool spring.

The Washington State Tree Fruit Association predicted Monday that Washington state’s 2022 fresh apple harvest will total 108.7 million forty-pound boxes. This is a decrease of 11.1% compared to the 122.3 million boxes in 2021.

“We are pleased with the size of the crop, especially in the face of a long, cold spring,” said WSTFA President Jon DeVaney.

The estimate shows that five popular apple varieties make up the majority of the crop. Gala leads production at 20%, Red Delicious and Honeycrisp are each expected to reach 14%, followed by Granny Smith at 13.4% and Fuji at 12.7% of total production.

Cosmic Crisp, which is grown only in Washington state, accounts for 4.6% of the crop, down from 3.2% last year. Washington apples are sold in more than 40 countries and are the state’s primary agricultural product, accounting for 20% of the state’s agricultural farm gate value in 2020. On average, 30% of the crop is exported.

State agriculture officials and growers in the Yakima Valley say cold spring weather, a late April freeze and their impact on pollination have delayed the peach harvest season, which is usually at its peak. peak now, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic.

“Volume is down due to the cold conditions we experienced this spring,” said James Michael, vice president of North America marketing at the Washington State Fruit Commission. “Besides the intense cold and frost, we had a long, long period of cool weather that pushed everything back, including the peaches.”

While there’s no official Washington peach harvest estimate, many of the state’s best fishing grounds were among the coldest spots during the April freeze, Michael said. . The consensus among growers is that there is about half a harvest this season, he said.

“We are now entering the peak of peaches and we will be going from variety to variety until the end of September this year,” Michael said. “Traditionally, the peach harvest starts in early July and lasts until mid-September, but the cool spring has pushed most harvests back by at least two weeks.”

Local producers agree with these harvest forecasts.

JL Thompson of Thompson’s Farm in Naches said that while late-blooming fruit trees such as pears and apples are expected to produce “decent” crops this year, early and mid-summer fruit has not been so lucky.

“It’s kind of a light crop for peaches,” Thompson said. “The frost damage affected peaches, cherries, apricots, plums. We had this late frost around Easter, and it affected pollination.

“We are selecting a few Red Havens at the moment, but the harvest is quite minimal. The Elbertas aren’t as bad…we have a decent amount of donuts (peaches),” he added. “Many years we pick your own peaches, but we’ll have to wait and see this year.”