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America's most popular apple loses its crown after 50-year reign

Gala apple is now top U.S. apple

Red fruits like an apple can be some of the healthiest foods to eat. The deeper the color, the more effective they are at helping turn off obesity genes.
Red fruits like an apple can be some of the healthiest foods to eat. The deeper the color, the more effective they are at helping turn off obesity genes. (CNN)

The Red Delicious apple is about to be shaken from the top branch as the No.1 most-grown apple in America. It's been the reigning apple favorite for more than 50 years, according to the U.S. Apple Growers Association.

Based on the U.S. Agriculture Department’s August crop forecast the Red Delicious will be unseated by the Gala apple, falling to America's No. 2 apple crop. The reason, according to USApple director of regulatory and industry affairs Mark Seetin, is that the demand for newer varieties of apples has caused the demand for Red Delicious to drop.

According to USApple’s 2018 production forecast, these will be the top apples grown domestically: No. 1 Gala, No. 2 Red Delicious, No. 3 Granny Smith, No. 4 Fuji and No. 5 Honeycrisp.

Production of the New Zealand-native Gala is estimated to jump to 52.4 million in 2018 from 49.5 million last year. Red Delicious production is expected to decrease from 57.9 million last year to 51.7 million in 2018.

The one to watch is Honeycrisp, according to the group.

Honeycrisp is forecast to move ahead of Golden Delicious into fifth place this year, knocking Golden Delicious out of the top five. Within a year or two, the apple is predicted to move ahead of Granny Smith and Fuji into third place, Seetin said.

Due to trade tariffs, this year has been the worst in 123 years for the U.S. apple industry, U.S. Apple Association Chair Mark Boyer said at a recent trade conference.

“The White House has taken actions to restrict trade with Mexico, India and China — our first-, second- and sixth-largest export markets,” Boyer told conference attendees. “That has us all unsettled as we kick off the new harvest.”

American apple growers export about $1 billion worth of the fruit annually, about one-third of the country’s crop.

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