SIC 0175

This classification includes establishments primarily engaged in the production of deciduous tree fruits. Establishments primarily growing citrus fruits are classified in SIC 0174: Citrus Fruits and those growing tropical fruits are classified in SIC 0179: Fruits and Tree Nuts, Not Elsewhere Classified.

NAICS Code(s)

111331 (Apple Orchards)

111339 (Other Noncitrus Fruit Farming)

The deciduous fruit industry consists of farms and orchards that maintain and harvest a variety of fruits, specifically apples, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, pomegranates, prunes, and quinces. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, apples led 2002 crop production with 4.2 million tons, followed by 1.2 million tons of peaches, 912,000 tons of pears, and 690,000 tons of prunes and plums. The value of the apple crop alone in 2002 was in excess of $1.6 billion. The apple crop also constitutes the country's third largest fruit crop, trailing grapes and oranges.

SIC 0175 Deciduous Tree Fruits

In 2002, more than 1.8 million acres of farmland were devoted to the growth of major deciduous fruits in the United States. This is indicative of the steady market for deciduous fruits, as the acreage devoted to deciduous fruits 15 years earlier was about 1.7 million acres and harvesting techniques have allowed growers to glean more fruit from fewer trees.

Deciduous fruits are divided into two groups according to climate requirements: warm-temperate fruits and cool-temperate fruits. Warm-temperate fruits include apricots, peaches, and plums. Cool-temperate fruits include apples, pears, and cherries. Both categories need a certain, short-period of low temperatures during winter dormancy, called a chilling period, in order to flower and produce fruit.

Chilling periods vary greatly not only among disparate fruits, but among different varieties of the same fruit as well. For example, some varieties of peaches require 250 hours of chilling while others demand as many as 1,000 hours. Apples and cherries generally need more than that. An inadequate chilling period can result in a number of problems. Flower buds may die or blossoms may drop before they open. Those flowers that do develop may not set fruit, or the fruit may be undersized. Growers consider the chilling period of primary importance in the success or failure of their crops. These temperature conditions therefore preclude commercial production of deciduous fruits in colder or warmer climates.

Top deciduous fruit producers by revenue are CM Holtzinger Fruit Company and Wells and Wade Fruit Company, both located in Washington. Top apple and pear companies by acreage are Stemilt Management and Naumes. Top stone fruit companies are Gerawan Farming and Lane Packing.

Apples. More land is devoted to the growing of apples than any other fruit in this category. Leading apple-producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan, and California. Out of nearly 8.6 billion pounds of apples produced in 2002, Washington accounted for 5.3 billion pounds; New York, 650 million pounds; Michigan, 500 million pounds; and California, 420 million pounds. U.S. producers faced consistent worldwide demand for apples, though competition from France and New Zealand remained strong. In the 2001-02 marketing year, Taiwan, Canada, and Mexico were the major importers of U.S. apples, accounting for more than 50 percent of all U.S. apple exports, according to the USDA. Canada, Chile and New Zealand were the largest exporters of apples to the United States.

Apricots. Apricot production in the United States has been fickle in the last decade. Although production climbed to 153,200 tons in 1994, it plummeted to a mere 60,500 tons in 1995. In 1998 production was back up to 118,000 tons, but by 2001 this had dropped back down to 82,460 tons. Production in 2002 rebounded to 90,140 tons. California, Washington, and Utah are the leading apricot producing states, with California producing the lion's share of the crop. The domestic usage distribution for 2002 was as follows: 18,090 tons were fresh market, 30,500 tons were canned, 8,000 tons were dried, and 10,500 tons were frozen.

Cherries. Cherries, classified as two types, (sweet and tart), have experienced waning demand in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Whereas production yielded more than 384,000 tons, by 2002 this had fallen to 180,200 tons. The value of the 2002 crop was estimated at about $301 million. Sweet cherries accounted for more than half of the total cherry production. Leading sweet cherry producing states include Washington, Oregon, Michigan, and California. Leading tart cherry producing states included Michigan, Utah, and Wisconsin. In 2002, roughly 5,780 tons of sweet cherries were canned or otherwise processed, while 126,455 tons were fresh and 24,340 tons were brined. Nearly 29 million pounds of tart cherries were frozen, more than 17 million pounds were canned or otherwise processed, and approximately 800,000 pounds were fresh.

Peaches. After declining from 1.31 million tons in 1997 to 1.21 million tons in 2001, peach production increased to 1.28 million tons in 2002. Throughout the early 2000s, per capita consumption of peaches declined steadily, falling 9.3 pounds in 2002. Of this total, 5.3 pounds were fresh, 3.4 pounds were canned and one-half pound were frozen. California, South Carolina, Georgia, and New Jersey rank as the leading producers of peaches in the United States. Canada, Japan, and Latin American countries have been major importers of U.S. canned peaches U.S. peach exports declined from 271 million pounds to 269 million pounds during the 2002-03 growing season, while imports during this season jumped 20.2 percent to 124 million pounds.

Pears. The United States is the third leading producer of pears, growing roughly 5 percent of worldwide pear output, compared to the 52 percent grown by China and the 6 percent grown by Italy. Consequently the United States exports nearly 35 percent of its pear crop. Throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, acreage devoted to pears steadily declined, falling to 63,150 in 2003. Pear production between 2000 and 2002 totaled 1.9 billion pounds, roughly 58 percent of which was sold fresh. Washington, California, and Oregon consistently lead the country in pear production. The Pacific Bartlett variety accounts for more than 50 percent of the U.S. pear crop, according to the USDA.

Plums and Prunes. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, plum and prune production fluctuated. Whereas producers yielded 926,000 tons in 1997, only about 559,000 tons were produced in 1998 and 735,000 tons in 1999. Production jumped to 902,000 tons in 2000, only to fall again to 690,000 tons in 2002. Oregon and Idaho are the leading producers of plums and prunes. Washington has cut production in half since 1986.

Further Reading

U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Fruit and Tree Nuts: Background." Washington, DC: Economic Research Service, 10 September 2002. Available from .

U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook." Washington, DC: Economic Research Service, 28 January 2004. Available from .

U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Statistics of Fruits, Tree Nuts, and Horticultural Specialties." 2000. Available from .

U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Washington Agri-Facts." Washington, DC: Washington Agricultural Statistics Service, 28 January 2004. Available from .

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: