Labor Shortage a Big Concern for Yakima Apple Growers
All those apples on the trees in the Yakima Valley are expected to add up to a record crop this year but like years past there’s talk about a major labor shortage. The Washington growers clearing house in Wenatchee estimates the crop at 145 million boxes for both the fresh and processed markets. A box is about 40 pounds. Mike Gempler of the Yakima-based Washington growers league says many growers are concerned if they’ll have enough workers to cover the peak harvest. Despite the labor shortage. Washington is the nation’s top apple grower and produces about 60 percent of the fresh apple crop.