Early Apple Harvest Means Growers Will Need to Plan Ahead - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Early Apple Harvest Means Growers Will Need to Plan Ahead

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YAKIMA, WA.- It was a record summer for heat with temperatures in the hundreds, not to mention the state wide drought that took a toll on many crops and growers. However as we head into fall, apple orchards are closing up shop already, thanks to an early harvest.

The apple harvest is now over about three weeks earlier than normal and while the apple commission says they saw the third largest crop this year in the state, coming in at 118 million boxes of apples, the sweltering heat and early harvest means growers and packers may not be able to store their fruit for the whole consumer season.

    

They typically store the picked fruit in cold storage up until May, but with some of the fruit damaged from heat, large growing and packing operations will need to sort and get rid of some of their harvest that won't last till next year.

    

However for smaller growers who don't refrigerate and ship their crop the early harvest is actually a good thing.  

"We're a small operation and the bigger warehouses have to be reminded that they're going to be selling apples into next year where as mine are all sold within 30 to 60 days," local grower John Thompson explained.

    

While larger farms and packing plants will need to deal with an early harvest, the Washington State Apple Commission told us most of the growers and packers will have enough fruit for the consumer season this year, that the unusable fruit won't make too much of a difference for customers.

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