While the apple harvest suffered a bit of a drought in 2016, the result was great tasting fruit that kept well, but couldn’t meet the demand of many of New York Apple Sales’ retailers.
“Prices are decent and velocity is good, but we just don’t have everything we want for all the retailers that we want to have it for,” Tim Byrne, in charge of special products at New York Apple Sales, Glenmont, NY, said. “We just started importing Honeycrisp and Sonya apples from Scotian Gold Cooperative, our partners up in Nova Scotia, and they’re coming in nicely and are eagerly awaited by our retail partners because of their quality and color and great shelf life.”
The increased production of these varieties for the company is adding to the growth of New York Apple Sales, as it has become the exclusive representative for Scotian Gold Cooperative stateside. Through its 55 growers, the producer-owned apple cooperative has over 2,500 acres of apple production across the fertile Annapolis Valley.
“That’s been a really good thing for us because the product up there is outstanding,” Byrne said. “It will add to our growth and continue to add to revenue and volume for apple sales going forward, as they have experienced significant planting of these key varieties.”
One of the biggest things the company is doing involves its continued association with an intellectual property owner down in New Zealand for KORU-trademarked apples. New York Apple Sales collaborated with Borton Fruit and Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers to form the Coast to Coast Growers Cooperative, and it expects to bring in 100 containers of these apples in late April or early May.
“We marketed these in June and July of 2016 and it was very well received by the trade and we are anxious to double our volume on KORU this year,” Byrne said. “We’re going to continue increasing volumes of these probably every year.”
The secret to success for the company lies in four things: hard work, an optimistic outlook, perseverance and a lot of good luck.
“When your factory is outside, it takes some good luck to be a success. You have to cultivate the customer base with your retailers and a lot of that is driven by the retailers, customer service levels, logistics chain, packing and storing,” Byrne said. “In New York alone we have seven different packing and storage facilities working with 60 growers. With the diversity in climates and regions, it allows us some protection against weather.”
The company will attend SEPC with vice president John Cushing and account executive Michael Harwood manning the booth onsite, showing some of the fruit from Nova Scotia and a small domestic orchard in New York.
“SEPC gives you the chance to meet with key retailers and talk about the upcoming season and what we anticipate for the 2017 harvest,” Byrne said.
“We’ll talk about the KURU program and lets us ask customers what they are interested in with packaging and some other things, without us having to fly around the country to do it.”