As Northeasterners dealt with Hurricane Sandy’s destruction and the nor’easter that added to the killer storm’s effects, shippers in the nation’s Northwest expressed their concern and well-wishes.
Scott Marboe, marketing director at Wenatchee, WA-based Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, said, “Our hearts and best wishes obviously go out to all of the people who have been affected by Sandy — what an event.”
In the days following the Oct. 29 storm, he said, “We have definitely seen an impact on shipments to that part of the country this week. It is a changing situation by the hour, and we are adjusting as we need to for each individual account.”
Oneonta was in its final weeks of harvest, and Mr. Marboe said demand was high and “movement has been incredible.”
He said, “The demand is at levels we have never seen as an industry or a company. Harvest is about done and we are looking forward to a great year.”
On Nov. 7 National Sales Representative Bruce Turner provided a harvest update, saying, “We are really winding up in the next couple of days with the last few late-harvesting varieties. We finished Fuji a couple days ago and have a few Pink Lady and Braeburn left to get off the trees.”
Mr. Turner said demand is being met by terrific volume.
“The 2012 harvest will end up being a record-setting volume, upwards of 120 million cartons. We all scrambled a bit to handle the extra tonnage with sales and shipping, packing, empty bin rotation, cooler space, etc.,” he said.
“The orchard and warehouse teams did a great job of planning and execution to get all the fruit in before the snow falls,” Mr. Turner continued. “It has helped that demand is exceptional right now, and we think the growers will have exceptional orchard returns this season.”
In the pear category, Mr. Turner said, the crop is also moving well.
“The 2012 Northwest pear crop is one of exceptional quality,” he said. “We have almost no lower grades at all this year, and following the strong California season, the pear demand continues to be very strong on all varieties, all grades. Fruit size is quite a bit bigger than last season, and this has created additional demand and increased pricing for smaller sizes into export markets.”
Going into the holiday season, Mr. Turner said, “Fall is the traditional time to promote apples and pears with most of major U.S. and Canadian retailers. [Because of this and] the unfortunate East Coast tree fruit crop losses, Northwest pears have seen great movement since the first bins were packed up.”
Jill Morrison, Oneonta graphic designer, said the company’s popular snaQ characters continue to bring viewers to the website’s “EAT + PLAY THE HEALTHY WAY” video.
Ms. Morrison said, “We had fun with our skateboard snaQ character at the Kids Product Showcase during PMA. To extend our program focus, we are sending an encouraging message using our animated videos to kids and moms. Our delivery is also unique — we use QR code visuals on our point-of-sale materials that themselves promote a healthy lifestyle and having fun.”
She added, “This skateboard video is the first in a series of 20-second spots that can air in the produce department or be scanned through QR cards to view on smartphones or iPads. The message is about getting back to basics. Whether kids are riding a skateboard, hiking, biking or engaging in some other sort of physical activity, we want them to be sure to take along a nutritious applesnaQ. It’s easy for mom, healthy for the kids and delicious to boot. The video can also be seen on our website, oneonta.com/applesnaQ.”