Did you know?
Washington grows 165,000 acres of apples. That is almost 60% of the US supply and the most valuable crop in Washington State.
Washington apple growers grow red delicious, golden delicious, gala, fuji, granny smith, braeburn, honey crisp, cripps pink (sometimes sold under the trademark name Pink Lady) and cameo.
Our most famous apple, the red delicious, represents about 30% of apples grown in the state, but accounts for 48% of apples exported to other countries. According to a one report, 56 percent of those surveyed named Washington as the brand they look for when buying apples.
Apple buying tips
Select apples that feel firm and have no punctures, bruises or soft spots. Skin should be smooth and shiny. Apples keep best if refrigerated at about 32 degrees Fahrenheit. A big bowl of apples on the counter top is beautiful, but will not stay fresh and crisp as long.
The history of apple growing in Washington
The area first became known to American pioneers at the turn of the 19th century and by 1826, early settlers had discovered that the area’s rich lava-ash soil and plentiful sunshine created perfect conditions for growing apples.
The arid climate also meant fewer insect and disease problems providing a smooth finish on the apples. Noting the health and vigor of apple trees planted along stream banks, pioneers developed irrigation systems and by 1889, commercial orchards were established. Most apple-growing districts in the State are still located along the banks of major rivers.
The average size of an orchard is about 50 acres, but some cover as many as 3,000 acres and employ 300 or more workers year-round. An estimated 35,000 to 45,000 pickers are employed during the peak of harvest.
Orchardists continually improve growing methods to produce apples that are crisper, juicier, more flavorful and keep better in storage.
New high-density plantings bring orchards into production faster through the use of dwarf trees. These new plantings provide orchardists with a faster return on investment by allowing growers to respond more rapidly to the changing consumer demand for new varieties. The smaller trees improve harvest efficiency because labor is substantially reduced. Because each apple is picked by hand, smaller trees mean less ladder work saving growers time and money.
Apples are the ultimate in convenience food. No preparation other than washing is required. However, apples are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes both raw and cooked. For recipes look here:http://www.bestapples.com/recipes/index.aspx
Eating fresh apples is always good for you, but to get the full nutritional benefits associated with eating apples, the old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is really true! But the average U.S. consumer eats about 19 pounds of fresh apples a year - about one apple per week.
Apples have been shown to help with many health issues, including lowering cholesterol, heart disease and stroke prevention, cancer prevention, lung health, and even weight loss! Learn more about the health benefits of apples at http://bestapples.com/healthy/index.aspx
Apple usage chart
Check out this awesome apple usage chart from Washington Apple!