Wescott Agri Products, headquartered in Wenatchee, WA, markets its Washington state apples under the “Honeybear Brands” label. The company is responsible for marketing apples and pears from Crane & Crane Orchards and from Honeybear Growers Fruit, both located in Brewster, WA.
Don Roper, vice president of Wescott Agri Products, said that the “Honeybear Brands” label is the company’s national marketing label on fruit produced only in Washington.
“In the Midwest, we market Minnesota and Wisconsin fruit under the ‘Mississippi Valley Fruit Co.’ label,” said Mr. Roper. “Both brands are owned by Wescott Agri Products, of which Fred Wescott and I are the principals. Fred is the president of the company.”
The company has a facility is in Elgin, MN. Its Midwest operation markets fruit for Sacia Orchards in Galesville, WI, and for Oakwood Fruit Farm in Richland Center, WI.
“Our Midwest operation provides added tonnage to our combined retail and foodservice operations’ customer base,” said Mr. Roper. “In addition, Sacia Orchards and Oakwood Fruit Farm will be the base operations for packing and commercializing two of our new apple varieties, which are not yet named.”
Mr. Roper said the demand is exceptional for both domestic and export markets, resulting in upward price pressure on all sizes of apples.
“However, the pressure feels even stronger on the smaller fruit compared to previous years,” he added. “We feel pricing will continue to be strong as we market through our storage fruit at this point. Our crop is large, but the reduced national crop has placed an unprecedented demand on Washington fruit, which has filled the market. It is helping us move a record crop at very strong prices.”
He noted that the growing conditions were great for the current crop of apples, “which is possibly one of our best crops in years,” he said. The mild late weather enabled the fruit to size up nicely, and it aided the harvest by not putting the fruit at risk due to cold or frost.
“Right now, consumers should be enjoying very good conditioned, excellent eating apples from Washington,” noted Mr. Roper.