PRESCOTT, Wash. -- Washington state apple farmers have the second largest crop in history but too few pickers to get it all in this harvest. A worker shortage means there won’t be enough people to get the fruit off the trees quickly enough.
Broetje Orchards in southeast Washington is one of the largest fruit growers in the world. Owners there put a plea out for more workers -- they're short 800 people.
Roger Bairstow is a manager at Broetje. He says because of crop-damaging weather in the rest of the nation, Washington has a really strong market but it’s likely much of the crop will rot.
“We’re one of the few that has a pretty good crop coming on. It’s sort of salt in the wound so to say.”
Bairstow says Broetje is advertising across the United States to draw workers in. Experts say the worker shortage is caused by several factors: Violence in Mexico, increased border security and the high price of fuel for commuting in rural areas.
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio
Washington apple farmers may have a difficult time getting all of their fruit picked. File photo courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission