Good prices for near-record Washington apple crop

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) -- Most of Washington's 2011 apple harvest has been sold and growers say prices for the near-record crop have been good for them.

A vice president at the Tree Top cooperative in Selah, Lindsay Buckner, says growers are reaping the benefits of strong markets for fresh and processed apples.

Yakima Herald-Republic reports (http://is.gd/7uzbLy ) the industry has shipped 82 million boxes out of a total crop estimated at 107 million boxes. That would be the second-largest, after the 109 million record in 2010.

The outlook for the 2012 crop also is good, with some predicting a record 120 million boxes.

A box of apples contains 40 pounds of fruit.

The state Agriculture Department says apples are Washington's largest commodity crop, worth more than $1.4 billion, accounting for 60 percent of U.S. production.

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Information from: Yakima Herald-Republic, http://www.yakimaherald.com