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OPN Connect Newsletter 282 ·

Fall Organic Apple Crop Down a Bit—but Still Robust


The total 2022 Washington apple harvest is expected to be about 11 percent less than last season, with production of organic apples forecast at 14.4 million boxes, or 13 percent of the total harvest, according to the Washington State Tree Fruit Association (WSTFA). Washington apple producers lead the nation in fresh production, and the state’s growers market about 90 percent of the country’s organic apples.

Per the association’s report released this past Monday, Washington State's fresh apple crop for 2022 will total 108.7 million 40-lb. boxes. That is an 11.1 percent decrease from the 122.3 million boxes harvested in 2021, although organic production is not expected to decline to the same degree.

Global Organics Oct 2022

John DeVaney, President, Washington State Tree Fruit Association 

“We are pleased with the size of the harvest, particularly in the face of a long, cold spring,” said Jon DeVaney, WSTFA president. It is that cold spring weather, which included an April frost, that is being blamed for the decrease in production.

Per the association’s report released this past Monday, Washington State's fresh apple crop for 2022 will total 108.7 million 40-lb. boxes.

The estimate reveals that the five most voluminous apple varieties make up about 60 percent of the harvest. Gala leads production at 20 percent, followed by Red Delicious and Honeycrisp at 14 percent, Granny Smith at 13.4 percent, and Fuji at 12.7 percent. Some of the newer varieties, however, are making their presence known. Cosmic Crisp is expected to account for 4.6 percent of the harvest compared to 3.2 percent last year.

CSP Oct 2022

Chuck Sinks, President of Sales and Marketing, Sage Fruit Company

Chuck Sinks, president of sales and marketing for Sage Fruit Company, in Yakima, WA, confirmed that organic apple supplies for this marketing year will be lower than the total crop from last season. “The entire apple crop, including organics, is down for the 2022-2023 season,” he said.

Cosmic Crisp is expected to account for 4.6 percent of the harvest compared to 3.2 percent last year.

North Bay Oct 2022

The organic apple harvest has started and should continue through mid-November. “Typically, organic apples begin just a few days later than their conventional counterparts,” Sinks said, noting that the Gala harvest begins in mid-August, followed by Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Granny Smith from late August to late September. Sinks said the harvesting of the organic Pink Lady crop should begin mid-October.

Sage Fruit Cosmic Crisp apple

Earlier this year, Sage Fruit announced that Chelan Fruit would join its family of companies beginning with the marketing of its 2022-2023 crop. Sinks said that will positively impact its organic supplies.

Chelan Fresh Oct 2022

“With the addition of Chelan Fruit for the 2022-2023 season, Sage Fruit will see a significant increase in overall organic volume,” he said. “One of our main areas of focus is continuing to increase our volume of both organic Gala and Honeycrisp across our organization.”

Earlier this year, Sage Fruit announced that Chelan Fruit would join its family of companies beginning with the marketing of its 2022-2023 crop. Sinks said that will positively impact its organic supplies.

Catherine Gipe-Stewart, director of marketing for Domex Superfresh Growers, also in Yakima, agreed that production is down but said organic apple supplies will only be marginally less than the 2021-2022
season. “The organic apple crop estimate is at 14.4 million cases, which is only down 4 percent from last year,” she said. “Overall, there will be promotable volume throughout the year, especially for organic Cosmic Crisp, which will be up 371 percent [year over year] for Washington State, organic Fuji [up 12 percent], and Autumn Glory, which is just over last year’s volume.”

Vitalis Oct 2022

Catherine Gipe-Stewart, Director of Marketing, Domex Superfresh

Retailers remaining flexible about the varieties they're willing to promote will be key in helping sales. “Some varieties may be down more where others are up, creating promotable opportunities on key varieties throughout the season,” Gipe-Stewart said.

About 20 percent of Superfresh Growers' apple crop is organic, she said, giving the grower-shipper plenty of promotional opportunities throughout the year. “Superfresh Growers will have a promotable organic Pink Lady crop as well, with increasing volume this year over last,” she said.

“Overall, there will be promotable volume throughout the year, especially for organic Cosmic Crisp, which will be up 371 percent [year over year] for Washington State, organic Fuji [up 12 percent], and Autumn Glory, which is just over last year’s volume.” – Catherine Gipe-Stewart

Discussing the timing of the harvest, Gipe-Stewart said it is running 10-15 days later on most varieties, meaning promotional opportunities for new crop apples might be delayed a bit. “Promotional volume will likely not come until late August or early September,” she said. “Organic Gala will be first followed by organic Honeycrisp and Fuji in mid-to-late September.”

Superfresh Pink Lady apples

Speaking to the crop’s fruit-size distribution, Gipe-Stewart said apples are running one to two sizes smaller than last year. Superfresh Growers expects a good range in size options, including school-sized apples for back-to-school bag promotions as well as apples that tend to be larger in size, such as Cosmic Crisp, Honeycrisp, and Fuji.

Eagle Protect Oct 2022

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