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Northwest's Hot Summer Means Apples Are Smaller This Year

Harvest is revving up at Washington’s apple orchards. But this year the fruit they’re picking is smaller -- and there is less of it.

The scorching heat of June and the summer’s drought stressed orchards region-wide.

Gary Middleton owns organic orchards north of Pasco, Washington.

“Thank God there is next year,” he said. “It’s been a very tough year. It could be much worse if I was a dryland wheat farmer or someone who had very little rainfall.”

Middleton said he’s lucky he has uninterrupted irrigation.

The Washington Apple Commission said growers this year will pick about 120 million bushels -- 20 million fewer than last year. The good news is many prime export markets such as Mexico and Europe like smaller apples.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.