RICHLAND, Wash. -

Harvest is underway in Northwest apple orchards, and some growers are expecting a bumper crop.

The Washington apple crop is estimated at 4.8 billion pounds this year, second only to last year's crop.

Northwest apple expert Rebecca Lyons tells the Northwest News Network that the recent growth is due to newer, much denser plantings.

More farmers are turning to newer, premium varieties to earn profits, and they're excited about a new variety not yet available in stores.

WA 38 is being developed at Washington State University. It won't be planted commercially until 2016, but lead researcher Kate Evans says the apple is very crisp and extremely juicy, with a lot of sweetness and good tangy, apple acidity.