HILLSBORO - Packing apples for your children's lunches will cost more.

This year's crop is the smallest since 1986. While supplies are plentiful here in the Northwest, it's a matter of supply versus demand, which means a price increase.

At the core of the problem is weather after a warm spell followed by a cold snap this past spring in the Midwest and Northeast.

It's affected the apple crop from Canada to Michigan to North Carolina and New york. Northwest apple growers are helping out to fill the void.

But the price increase is already being felt. At Oregon Heritage Farms in Hillsboro, a bushel of Honeycrisps, is up about $20 wholesale.

Employees are working seven days a week on the processing line, shipping apples to as far away as Florida and Texas.

We've had some great Honeycrisps and Jonagold, said Chelsea McLennan-West, Oregon Heritage Farms. Our yields have been pretty high, we've been able to get them off the trees because we had this great weather.

For produce wholesalers, apples are costing more to buy and ship. It's all passed on to grocery stores, and that's passed on to consumers.

It's just like any other business, according to Sam Caruso, Vice President, Caruso Produce Inc. If they have a good quality apples and they're a good businessman, they're going to make more money .

Prices could jump as much as a $1 a pound by the end of the year stretching into next.

You can also expect to see an increase in apple juice, cider and products using apples as a sweetener.

And this summer's drought could still take a toll on other fruits. Experts suggest next year's crop of strawberries and blueberries could be affected.

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