How Do You Like Them Apples?
The apple, be it Golden Delicious or otherwise -- remains a gold mine of a crop for local farmers.
Farmers like John Thompson are preparing to harvest the fruit, after another successful season of growing.
"We've had ideal growing conditions this year, our apples I believe are a little larger than they are normally at this time," said Thompson, "I think the Yakima Valley and the industry should see an exceptionally good apple year."
This year, the Yakima Valley Growers and Shippers Association is expecting almost 120 million boxes of Washington apples to be packed and shipped throughout the world.
It's 9 million boxes less than last year, the states largest crop to date, but would be the second largest crop in state history.
Increasing crop size is a trend that's been going on for a number of years.
Growers are packing trees into tighter areas, and also keeping an eye out for other technology to help them keep up with growing consumer demands.
"That's the story in most of American agriculture; higher productivity on relatively the same acreage base," said Yakima Valley Growers and Shippers Director, Jon DeVaney, "Technology and technologiccal improvements aren't limited to the desktop computer and your iPhone. That happens in agriculture as well and it results in larger crops."
And with larger crops, comes bigger business opportunities.
"Basically, farmers are customer driven; what the customer wants, we better be growing for them," said Thompson, "But apples are the king, and they will be the king in the Yakima Valley."
The Yakima Valley Growers and Shippers Association says the state of Washington contributes about 60% of the nation's total apple crop.