Washington state is positioned to be the leader in organic apples for 2017. Lindsey Huber, international marketing specialist with the Washington Apple Commission, based in Wenatchee, WA, said production is on the rise and may make up as much as 15 percent of total crop volume.“The 2016-17 season wrapped up at approximately 10.8 million bushels of organic apples, and the Aug. 1 estimate forecasted 13 million cartons for the 2017-18 season,” she said. “Washington’s climate positions growers to take advantage of organic horticultural practices matching the increasing consumer demand for organic products. Expectations are for continued organic apple expansion into the future.”

The Washington apple industry also recently saw the first plantings of the newest Washington variety, the Cosmic Crisp, go in the ground this past spring. This variety was bred by the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research Commission, and will be available to all growers in the state.

“Our industry is very excited about this apple, as it’s the first generic (meaning, not a proprietary variety that is controlled by a single marketing organization) variety we’ve had for some time,” Huber said. “Our state will have a 10-year exclusivity on the variety, which gives us time to create a strong consumer link between Washington state and Cosmic Crisp.”

With Cosmic Crisp joining the Washington apple collection, consumers can expect to see fruit in stores as early as 2019.

“In addition, the number of club varieties is increasing, which means consumers will have an even wider range of tastes and textures available,” Huber said.

Article by Keith Loria, The Produce News