Washington's apple output exceeding expectations, projected to reach 104.3 million boxes in 2011 despite late harvest, cold weather, labor shortage; crop forecast to be third-largest in industry's history

YAKIMA, Washington , December 12, 2011 () – Despite concerns about a late harvest, cold weather and picker shortages, Washington's apple crop is exceeding industry expectations.

More apples safely reached storage than had been anticipated.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that a Dec. 1 storage report estimates Washington state will pack and ship 104.3 million boxes of apples during this marketing season. That's about 2.6 million boxes higher than a projection a month earlier.

The storage report is prepared by growers' organizations in Yakima and Wenatchee.

If the Dec. 1 estimate is met, the 2011 crop will be about five million boxes smaller than the record 2010 crop of 109 million boxes.

The 2011 crop is projected to be the third largest in the industry's history.

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