The nation’s leading apple shipper, Washington state, is experiencing lower than normal exports of apples, which is resulting in more product being shipped to domestic markets.
Strong Washington State summer apple shipments indicate potentially record demand for apples that will be harvested in the coming weeks. Since June 1, Washington State apple shipments have eclipsed 2018 by a whopping 29 percent, and 2017 by 30 percent. There have been more than 10 straight weeks of +2 million-box shipments
In a typical year, roughly a third of the state’s apple crop is exported. At the end of the current shipping season, which concludes in early September, that share could be as low as 26 percent. The primary reason is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made it difficult to predict domestic volume and exports.
Mexico and India currently are the top importers of Washington apples. But stay-at-home orders, particularly in India, where the virus has seen a surge, has kept consumers out of markets and stores and has contributed to a reduction in demand.