(May 12) VIENNA, Va. — Apple shippers on May 1 had 21.9 million bushels left in storage, a 25% drop from the five-year average at that time, and the U.S. Apple Association said prices remain exceptionally strong.

Although Midwest and Northeast states, which had light 2002-03 crops, had a significant increase in remaining apples this year, Northwest shippers saw a 25% drop as of May 1, to 18.1 million bushels, according to the association’s monthly storage report.

On May 11, Washington’s Yakima and Wenatchee districts reported prices at $16 for red delicious tray pack cartons of 80s and 88s, and $22-24 for cartons of golden delicious 72-80s, according to the USDA. Granny smith cartons were $20-22 for 72s and $16 for 125s. New York red delicious cartons were $14-16 for 88-100s; cartons of mcintosh 80s were $20-21, the same for mcintosh 96s from Michigan.

At the same time in 2003, Washington f.o.b.s were $10-12 for cartons of red delicious and $18-20 for golden delicious 72-80s. Light supplies buoyed New York prices, with $25-27 for cartons of mcintosh 100s and $20-22 for cartons of empire 100s.