Michigan, New York apple losses pose challenges

08/21/2012 03:33:00 PM
Andy Nelson

“We’re feeling extremely fortunate and blessed,” he said. “We’ve got a fair amount of fruit to work with, to take us into the season a little ways.”

It won’t be until harvest is in full swing that growers will have a better idea of what the 2012-13 season holds, Suzanne Wolter, marketing director for Selah, Wash.-based Rainier Fruit Co., said after attending the Western region meeting Aug. 16 at the U.S. Apple conference.

“I think it will be several weeks before we really get a handle on what we have to work with,” she said. “And it could be December before we really know how the season will shape up. The one thing that kept coming up at the meeting was that this is the hardest crop to get a handle on.”

In addition to the losses in Michigan and New York and the hailstorm in Washington, the U.S. domestic season will kick off with one of the emptiest pipelines in recent years, Wolter said.

“Demand is coming in from everywhere. We need to find a balance to make sure we’re not turning consumers off” with high prices, she said.

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