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Millions of people will go hungry today, but Washington is dumping apples in fields

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Washington is turning into the bad apple state, as growers are dumping "millions of pounds" of the state's official fruit in open fields, where the fruit is left to rot.

Local NBC affiliate station King 5 took video of what experts call the biggest apple dump in the state's history. Video shows a dump truck creating long rows of fresh apples on grassy hills. Locals told King 5 the trucks come multiple times a day:

The apples slowly turn entire fields red, attracting too many flies to count:

The dumping of the state's official fruit is a reminder of the complex tendencies of free markets. There are various factors encouraging growers to discard produce otherwise meant for human consumption, including a surplus of apples and ongoing labor disputes in Western cities, including those at the ports of Tacoma and Seattle.

It's shocking to see the loss of healthy, inexpensive produce happening at a scale that would turn green fields red. The USDA says more than 47 million Americans had trouble accessing food in 2012. Even in a country where food deserts still limit access to fresh produce, these growers have the opposite problem — no logistical infrastructure to get their crops into the hands of consumers.