Washington Apples in Pandemic Pt 1

Washington Apples in Pandemic Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Everybody in the food production business is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus in one way or another.

And, as we approach another harvest season, Washington’s apple industry is no exception.

Washington Apple Commission’s Toni Lynn Adams says some of their issues are in exports, with about a third of our apples sent to roughly 60 countries …

ADAMS … “We can specifically see that there has been a drop in exports over the course of the last few months. And, it’s been a real challenge. It’s been compounding on some ongoing issue that we already had in the form of retaliatory tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade, so it’s really been amplifying those issues and causing a major slowdown.”

Much of that slowdown, Adams says comes from the supply chain …

ADAMS … “As you said, with the supply chain as we’re getting shipments out, there’s a slowdown in ports, there are wholesale markets that are shutdown and our consumers purchasing behaviors have shifted as well. So, it’s really shifted how the apple industry is moving volume at this time.”

But, what about the restaurant closures? …

ADAMS … “We are more geared toward retail than we are food service. So, what we’re really seeing is how consumers are purchasing whether it’s at retail or, in our international markets, there’s wet markets, there’s wholesale markets, so that’s where we’re seeing the impact, is we’re not as geared toward food service as other commodity groups.”

Tune in tomorrow when we hear more about the pandemic impact on Washington apples and the export markets we serve.

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