Apple harvest

U.S. apple processors paying double for fruit

Sep 28, 2012

RICHLAND, Wash. – U.S. apple processors are paying nearly double what they did just two years ago to make sauce and juice.

Bad weather pummeled other apple growing regions of the world. And a worker shortage is slowing down the harvest in the Northwest.

Apple crops in New York, Michigan, Canada and Europe are down from bad weather. And China, the world’s largest apple producer, is keeping more fruit at home for its growing middle class. That means the price of processing-apples has gone up at least $100 a ton from just two years ago.

PRESCOTT, Wash. -- Washington state apple farmers have the second largest crop in history but too few pickers to get it all in this harvest. A worker shortage means there won’t be enough people to get the fruit off the trees quickly enough.

Broetje Orchards in southeast Washington is one of the largest fruit growers in the world. Owners there put a plea out for more workers -- they're short 800 people.

Andrea Parrish / Flickr

Across the Northwest, apple growers are having a hard time bringing in their harvest because of a worker shortage. The result may mean certain lower-priced varieties of apples don’t get picked at all.