Apple growers in the state of Washington expect third largest harvest ever
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash.- 130 million boxes of apples. With each box weighing 40 pound each ... That's over five billion pounds of apples.
Growers in the state of Washington are expecting the third largest apple harvest ever. Even if they are projecting to finish one percent lower than last year.
Tim Kovis at the Washington State Tree Fruit Association said the recent large harvests are due to the new way apples are grown.
"We get more apples per acre and our acreage has gone down in terms of orchard land. However, the apple per acre has gone up so we are able to grow more apples on a smaller footprint," he said.
Apples is the largest agricultural commodity for the state with about $2 billion of value coming out of Washington.
97 percent of the crop is shipped to other states and countries.
Smaller farms like McIlrath farms expects to put out seven million pounds of apples, according to owner Scott McIlrath.
"The quality and quantity of our high value apples are outstanding. One of the best qualities I have ever seen," he said.
McIlrath said the reason they are able to bring in the best apples in the country is because of the standard Washington holds itself to.
"We got some of the best quality fruit that is check before it is ever released," he said.
While the projections for this season look great, McIlrath knows the weather can still wipe out his crop in a matter of days.
"It's a risky business. You gotta be tough," he said.