(Oct. 17) The 2008 Washington fresh apple crop now is estimated at 101.6 million boxes, up from the August forecast of 99.6 million boxes, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported.

The new estimate is the result of greater-than-expected production of golden delicious and gala varieties, which are among the first to be harvested, Keith Mathews, executive director of the Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association, told the newspaper.

The harvest is expected to continue several more weeks.

Growers earlier were concerned that a spring frost would result in a major decline in volume this year.