Washington State apple growers are committed to maintaining responsible agricultural practices that minimize environmental impact and ensure orchard sustainability for generations to come. There are five main apple-growing regions in Washington State, each with their own unique characteristics. They all share the same ideal growing conditions that lay the foundation for growing the world’s best apples. Most apple-growing districts in the state are located along the banks of major rivers. The average size of a Washington apple orchard is about 100 acres, but some cover as many as 5,000 acres and employ 300 or more farm workers year-round.
Click the icons below to explore the five main apple growing regions of Washington State.
From the terraced riverside orchards of the scenic Okanogan comes much of our late season fruit. Located to the north, it consists of the narrow Methow Valley, its lush orchards hugging the Methow River, and the wider, steep-walled Okanogan Valley. The region's shorter growing days and cool temperatures produce excellent apples of all varieties.
Lake Chelan Region
Orchards lining the shores of Lake Chelan are steeped in a unique, temperate microclimate. This deep lake cools the hot summer days and warms the air temperature in winter. The Chelan region is known for producing apples of exquisite color, shape and keeping quality demanded for export.
The heart of Washington apple country is the Wenatchee Valley. Its waterfront orchards embrace the region's rushing rivers, producing crisp, delicious apples in every color and flavor.
Columbia River Region
Between the Columbia and Snake rivers, lays the broad Columbia Basin. Its rich volcanic soil, fed by the cool waters of the Columbia, nurtures vast acres of apples. Blessed by a long growing season, the basin is noted for producing larger apples and later-maturing varieties.
Yakima Valley Region
Surrounded by gently rolling mountains, the wide Yakima Valley employs irrigation to create an oasis for apple cultivation. Stretching from the Naches to the Tri-Cities, it is the largest apple producing region in Washington. Noted for its earlier, as well as longer, growing season, the Yakima region produces high quality apples of every variety.
Cosmic Crisp® brand WA 38 trees come to full-bloom five to seven days after ‘Gala’ and ‘Red Delicious;’ bloom periods are shorter than ‘Red Delicious.’* The number of blossoms per bud ranges from four to six, with individual flowers large in size (53.9 mm in diameter). Petals are white with red–purple highlights. Both surfaces of the sepals are yellow–green, with tips highlighted red–purple.
The fruit ripens from late September to early October in Wenatchee, ≈4 weeks after ‘Gala’ and 3 weeks before ‘Fuji’, in ‘Red Delicious’ season. Fruit is large, similar to ‘Fuji’ and larger than ‘Gala’ and round conical in shape with an average equatorial diameter of 8.4 cm and axis length of 7.9 cm. At harvest, fruit has a conspicuous bloom. Skin under color is from the red group with overstreak from the grayed purple group. Lenticels are numerous, small, round, and smooth with the skin. Fruit skin is smooth and russet has not been observed. Pedicel is long, averaging 25.7 mm; the pedicel cavity is acuminate in shape and has an average depth of 2.3 cm. WA 38 is moderately susceptible to mildew and fire blight but is not prone to sunburn or bitter pit*.
The apple has been highly rated for its sweet, tangy flavor and has exceptional storability, WSU notes. The tree is upright and spreading with moderately low vigor, and is precocious, meaning it will start producing fruit at a younger age, with spur development beginning on 2-year-old wood. Yield is within the range of other locally grown apple cultivars. The fruit ripens in late September, is large and round/conical with 90 to 100 percent of the surface covered with a rich red-purple color over a green-yellow background. The fruit is red and symmetrical with red-striped blush (55-80%) and attractive, prominent lenticels. The sizes are medium to large and decrease as trees mature. They have a narrow size range with 85-90% of fruit within four classes.*
Read the full documentation at HortScience.
*Information updated from “Wa 38 Fact Sheet” 05/08/15