SHARECOMMENTMORE

SEATTLE- First, warm spring weather in the Northeast and Midwest tricked apple trees into budding earlier. Then an untimely frost damaged the delicate blossoms.

Apple farmers in producing states like New York and Michigan are dealing with severe declines in production - as much as 90 percent in some cases.

But it is amounting to a boon for Washington state growers, who are already in the midst of a near record harvest, and now looking forward to higher demand and prices for their produce.

Washington Growers Clearing House Association manager Kirk Mayer says there will be more apples shipped from Washington to processing on the East Coast than we've ever seen before.

But Washington growers are hoping a labor shortage doesn't impede them from picking the much needed apples.

MANUEL VALDES, Associated Press