Weather factors ranging from heat, drought, and a tropical storm among others this season, but overall none apparently were serious enough to greatly affect Eastern apple shipments as sapple loadings are underway.
Rice Fruit Co. of Gardners, PA started with Honeycrisp and ginger gold in mid-August, a week later than last year and a little lighter on volume Gala shipments started the third week of August with similar volumes to 2019.
United Apple Sales of Lyndonville, N.Y reports Western New York apple loadings have went well so far this season. While no bumper crops are predicted, the company is pleased with its Honeycrisp, gala and fuji. Its red delicious was describe as spotty or inconsistent.
United Apple Sales is one of the seven sales-agent partners of Crunch Time, which expects volume to increase by about 30 percent this year. This is happening thanks to additional acreage reaching full production for both SnapDragonn and Ruby Frost, both managed varieties grown only in New York.
The SnapDragon harvest started in New York’s Hudson Valley in early September, followed by the rest of the state a couple of weeks later. Ruby Frost will get underway in early to mid-October.
At Hess Bros. Fruit Co. of Lancaster, PA, the crop volume may be about the same or slightly less, but it’s a different balance of varieties for the company, which has growers in Virginia, Pennsylvania and western New York.
Although an early frost in spring that reduced size of crop a little bit, the firm has more Honeycrisp and gala and fuji than last year, even though it may have the same or little less overall. Virginia growers started harvesting and packing gala and Honeycrisp in mid-August.
Pennsylvania growers started with the same two varieties, plus ginger gold, about August 20. Hudson River Fruit Distributors of Milton, N.Y., started harvesting in late August and early September, said Alisha Albinder Camac, director of operations at her family’s company.
More than 350 miles northwest of the Hudson River Valley-based company, in western New York, volume to be up about 8 to 10 percent from 2019.
United Apple Sales completed harvest of paula red and ginger gold apples, which are early variety, in August.
During the first week of September, galas, mcintosh and early Honeycrisp started. By the end of September, cortland, Snapdragon and empire were underway. Red delicious harvesting began the first week of September, followed by fuji and Pink Lady.
While Washington produces five times more apples than anywhere else in the U.S., it’s no surprise that New York is the leader in volume on the East Coast.
Then come Pennsylvania and Virginia, followed by other states in the region.
For instance, 2020 total apple production nationwide is down 3.4 percent, compared to last season.
Forecast at 30.9 million cartons, New York’s apple production may drop only 1.6 percent compared to 2019. This is on par with the five-year average for volume said Cynthia Haskins.
The East Coast’s two other largest apple-producing states may have the steepest declines, however: Pennsylvania’s projected 10 million cartons is down 17.2 percent, and Virginia’s 3.8 million cartons is down 15.8 percent.
The USDA also reported its Eastern apple production forecast in pounds:
- New York with 1.30 billion pounds, compared to 1.32 billion pounds in 2019;
- Pennsylvania with 420 million pounds, compared to 507 million pounds in 2019; and
- Virginia with 160 million pounds, compared to 190 million pounds in 2019.