(July 18) An estimated 1 million boxes each of pears and apples were lost in an early July hailstorm in central Washington, adding to the state’s production losses from earlier in the season.

Hit worst were groves in Cashmere, Dryden, Manson and other cities in Chelan and Douglas counties northwest of Wenatchee, said Dan Kelly, assistant manager of the Washington Growers Clearing House Association, Wenatchee, which made the loss estimates.

The storm boosts the number of Washington apples lost this season to hail to about 10 million boxes, Kelly said, or roughly 10% of the estimated crop.

Apple markets already are strong because of low storage supplies. On July 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $20 for carton tray packs of storage red delicious 72s from Wenatchee and Yakima, up from $10-11 last year at the same time.

The cumulative damage of this year’s hailstorms, which began in late May, on the state’s pear crop had yet to be determined July 13, Kelly said. He said that because of the combination of storms and thinning, the size of the crop could be about 3 million boxes lower than a June 1 estimate of 18 million boxes.

On July 11, the USDA reported prices of $20-22 for 18-kilogram containers of wrapped bosc 70s and 80s from Chile, the same price as last year at the same time.

In addition to the 1 million boxes of pears lost July 5, some of the fruit that survived could suffer from poor quality. Some grower-shippers, Kelly said, could be forced to pack fresh-market product that is below fancy grade.

Blue Star Growers Inc., Cashmere, lost about 21% of the pears and apples grown by its 30 growers, said Jerry Kenoyer, manager. Pears, and in particular anjous, accounted for most of the fruit lost in the Wenatchee River Valley, he said, citing damage estimates from the Washington Apple Growers Marketing Association, Wenatchee.

About 18,000 bins of anjous, 4,000 bins of bartletts and 364 bins of apples were lost in the valley, Kenoyer said.

Most of the apple losses came from outside the valley, in Manson and Peshastin, Kelly said.

Kenoyer said the storm could set the beginning of the anjou deal a week behind its usual early September start.

Oneonta Trading Corp., Wenatchee, lost 30% to 40% of its river valley pear crop, said Scott Marboe, marketing director. The valley makes up about 20% of Oneonta’s total pear acreage, he said.

Despite the losses, Marboe was optimistic about the upcoming season.

“Overall, there still should be enough good pears throughout the Northwest to make it through the season,” he said. “It’s been a really weird season, though. We’ve had a lot of abnormal weather issues.”