(June 10) New rules to be enacted in the Washington state apple industry should make marketing the crop an easier task.

A higher minimum brix level for red delicious and minimum firmness standards for gala and jonagold can only enhance the state’s reputation for quality fruit. The rules may force producers to let fruit ripen on the tree longer, putting a better taste in the consumer’s mouth.

Many shippers already had such minimums, but closing the gaps should prevent inferior fruit from damaging the market for others.

After all, a consumer, once burned, is unlikely to try again. And consumers rarely call to complain. They just stop buying.

The minimum sugar level, going from 10% to 11% in delicious varieties shipped before Oct. 1, is a solid step to boost a Washington staple that has had quality issues and has been under attack by an ever-expanding list of available varieties.

The gala and jonagold apples will now have a minimum firmness year-round of 11 pounds, whereas no previous requirement existed.

Such a minimum ensures product quality in a way that benefits all in the industry.

Consumers have so many choices in the grocery store today. Taking steps such as these to beef up the quality of an important staple is sure to benefit the industry.

Washington’s apples compete not only with other apples, but fruit of all types in an ever-expanding variety. Ensuring top quality and taste is paramount.