Stemilt Growers’ 2014 apricot harvest kicked off a week earlier than last year, and the company expects a big crop.

Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt began harvesting in central Washington early the week of June 16, and expected to have promotable volumes by the middle of the week of June 23, according to a company news release.

Stemilt expects to harvest nearly 300,000 cartons of apricots this year, 35% more than last year. Ideal weather conditions throughout bloom and in the growing season is a reason for the big jump, Roger Pepperl, Stemilt’s marketing director, said in the release.

“Weather has definitely been on our side this season, which is resulting in large-sized, clean, and very high-quality apricots,” Pepperl said.

Stemilt was harvesting robada apricots in mid-June and expected to move quickly into the production of the rival and perfection varieties.

Promotions should last through July 14, Pepperl said.

Because of a large size profile this season, Stemilt expects to market large apricots in panta packs and tray packs. Volume fill boxes will be used for smaller fruit, and random-weight pouches for all sizes.

Stemilt plans for about 60% of its apricots to be certified organic this year.