Washington Apple Commission

Anna King

Harvest is revving up at Gary Middleton’s organic orchards north of Pasco. The autumn sun warms the backs of pickers perched on tall aluminum ladders. But this year the fruit they are picking is smaller - and there is less of it. The scorching heat of June and the summer’s drought stressed orchards region wide.

“Thank God there is next year,” said Middleton. “It’s been a very tough year. It could be much worse if I was a dryland wheat farmer or someone who had very little rainfall.” Middleton says he’s lucky he has uninterrupted irrigation.

Washington Apple Commission

Washington State harvests about 65% of the nation's apples each fall. But this year, because of the chilly spring, those cheery orbs of goodness could be a bit smaller and possibly less sweet.