(May 15) The Washington apricot season should start harvesting and shipping from the Yakima district the week of June 23, with the Wenatchee district starting the week of July 4, said Mike Nicholson, who does domestic and Latin American sales for Orondo Chief International LLC, Orondo, Wash.

He said about two-thirds of the company’s fresh sales were in rivals and perfections.

David Douglas of Douglas Fruit Co., Pasco, Wash., said his company should start shipping between June 18 and June 20, with the season going through July.

He said the fruit size looked good and hoped to peak on 80 and 84 2-layer tray sizes.

Douglas said his company would ship tomcots, rivals, perfections, goldbars, goldriches and goldstrikes.

Last season, Washington produced about 3,800 tons of apricots, according to the Washington State Fruit Commission, Yakima.

The volume size should be similar to last season, said Nicholson, adding that there was a little frost in some districts in the early spring, which damaged some of the fruit.

Roger Pepperl, director of marketing for Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, said he expected volume to be a little down this season because of the freeze and a hail storm that hit some districts earlier in the spring.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture first reported Washington f.o.b.s on July 15 last year, with 2-layer tray pack 60-64s $22.50, 70-72s $20.50-22.50, 80s $18.50-20.50 and 84-88s $14.50-18.50. Twenty-four pound carton loose 1 5/8-inch minimum were $14.50-16.50 and 1 7/8-inch minimum were $16.50-18.50.

Nicholson said the transition from the end of the California deal to the start of the Washington deal affected movement. If California finishes late or has bad quality fruit, he said it slows the Washington deal down at the beginning of the season.

The past five years have transitioned smoothly between the two regions, he said, adding that people anticipated a pretty favorable marketing situation.

Pepperl said retailers have been advertising apricots better, citing the fruit’s good size and sugar level. He said retailers were looking for more items to carry in produce.

He said last year’s transition with California went smoothly, and said retailers generally looked for fresh supplies of apricots because of their perishability.

Douglas said retailers tended to go with 80s and larger or 72s and larger, adding that his company would be shipping mostly 2-layer tray packs, with 24-pound volume fill containers shipping to Mexico.

He said Mexico preferred that pack style because it holds more apricots in the box, making it cheaper.

“The cost is more in line with their markets,” he said.