California grower-shippers voted to continue the Fresno-based California Apple Commission.


State law requires referenda for all commodities commissions every five years. Sixty-two percent of the state’s apple growers voted to continue the commission, commission executive director Alex Ott said.


California is coming off one of its best apple seasons. California shipped 3.4 million cartons of fresh apples in 2008-09 and the 2009-10 volume could be more, Ott said.


“Additional apple trees are going into the ground, and there will be new production that will be coming off this year,” Ott said.


The commission’s annual forecast is scheduled to be released June 26.


“The weather has been incredible so far this year. It’s provided fantastic sizing opportunities,” Ott said. “I just hope it continues through July.”


The industry has developed the technology to get the red color for galas that consumers want, and because of the state’s warm temperatures, the apples have high sugar content, Ott said.

Last season, the state produced nearly one million cartons of galas and nearly two million cartons of granny smiths, California’s dominant apple varieties, he said.


 “The gala volume is going up and could rival grannys in about three years,” Ott said. “California is definitely making a comeback on the apple side.”


The other varieties grown in California are fuji, Pink Ladys and braeburns.


The commission plans to review its strategic plan that was developed four years ago, Ott said.


“We’ll try to determine what has worked, what hasn’t worked, where we can make changes and where we see the industry going,” he said.