The Washington State apple pick commenced end August on schedule after some hail damage fears. 60% of US apples come from Washington and growers are looking at a 109 million bushel crop. (43lbs/bushel) The crop is close to the record. Lower end fruit goes into sauce and juice so the timeliness of the pick is crucial to top dollar sales. Bad weather in Michigan (my fav for apples) and NY have increased the NW apple value. Here's the "core" issue: there's not enough people to pick. Immigration beef ups and border action on the "drug war" are seriously tightening labor hiring in the Northwest. The work is hard with ladder climbing and bushel harnesses strapped to chests. A good picker can make 1 thousand dollars a week. An orchard owner was quoted on NPR today saying most "whites" would not bother to fill out the forms. Wages are up and transportation and housing is negotiable. There's a line and demand for apples--the media is covering the wrong kind.