Shipments of Washington apples dropped by 152,000 boxes in the last week, a sign that some consumers have stopped buying because of the Alar scare, an industry official said today.
The weekly report of out-of-state shipments of the nation’s largest apple crop showed a drop from 1.56 million boxes two weeks ago to 1.4 million boxes last week. For the same week last year shipments were 1.5 million boxes, said Bill DeWitt of the Wenatchee Valley Traffic Assn.
Based on the top price quoted Thursday for the three main apple varieties in Washington, the loss to growers from last week’s shipment decline could be as much as $2.4 million.
“I’m sure part of this downtrend is the Alar scare,” said DeWitt, manager of one of two major apple shipment record keeping organizations in the state. “There is no doubt in my mind.”
Exports to foreign countries were down 35,000 boxes, from 173,000 boxes to 138,000 boxes last week, DeWitt said.