BRIDGEPORT - The Chelan-Douglas Horticultural Pest and Disease Board is trying to track down tainted apples Governor Inslee delivered to the town of Bridgeport on September 12.
On that day, the governor brought the apples as a gesture of care for the people who lost their homes to the Pearl Hill Fire; Inslee was surveying the aftermath caused by the fire that day. Inslee’s honey crisp apples were grown at the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia, some of which he also gifted to the town of Malden and a retirement home in Omak during his visits to wildfire-stricken towns during the days prior. Officials say the apples have tested positive for apple maggot larvae.
“We are desperately seeking the help of all Bridgeport and Douglas County residents or anyone who may have any information to help us locate the apples that were brought to Bridgeport,” the board stated in a press release.
The apples were reportedly left at the Foursquare Church shortly after 11 a.m., but have not been seen since and have not been able to find a contact with knowledge of their location.
“There is reason to believe that they may have been dumped in a local orchard or transported with other, non-contaminated apples from the area.”
Thurston County is currently an Apple Maggot quarantine area, but Douglas County is not.
Officials say apple maggots are an “incredibly serious pest” and could pose serious problems for orchardists in Douglas County if they are unable to be located; their goal is to find the infected apples and mitigate the effects immediately.
“It is of the utmost importance these apples are safely disposed of immediately.”
If you have any information about the location of the tainted apples, please contact Will Carpenter, Chelan-Douglas Horticultural Pest and Disease Board Director: 509.667.6677, Will.Carpenter@co.chelan.wa.us.