Statistics gathered by Domex Superfresh Growers provide positive trigger points for a successful season for the 2012-13 apple crop.
“The industry, through Dec. 1, has shipped over five million more boxes of apples — or 20 percent more apples — than the same period last year. Domex has a record crop with volume up over 30 percent when compared to last year’s crop,” Vice President of Marketing Howard Nager told The Produce News on Dec. 12. “From Sept. 1 through Dec. 1, Domex has sold over 25 percent of our annual crop.”
Domex is headquartered in Yakima, WA, and markets a full manifest of conventional and organic apples. Mr. Nager said organics currently account for approximately nine percent of the company’s overall volume. “We represent approximately 14 percent of the industry crop,” he added. “We intend to have a steady, controlled growth over the next five to 10 years with approximately 10 percent of our crop organically grown.”
Apple movement is strong. “The new Dec. 1 storage report is showing the industry to have gained over seven percent on Red Delicious and over 20 percent on Fujis from the Nov. 1 storage report for a record crop of almost 130 million boxes,” he continued.
According to Mr. Nager, category sales data from last year’s crop revealed that the top six varieties — Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious — account for 88 percent of category sales.
Mr. Nager also provided some insights about the company’s global activity. “Domex ships about 30 percent of our crop to almost 50 markets worldwide,” he noted. “From Sept. 1 through Nov. 30 of this year, there has been some terrific volume that has been shipped to a number of markets.”
Mr. Nager said fruit quality has been excellent this season. “We were expecting quite a bit more of hail grade this year, but great weather this fall has provided us with a bumper crop of good quality fruit,” he commented. “Sizing has been leaning toward larger fruit with 72s and 80s the primary sizes followed by 88s [and] 100s.”
One of the company’s newest varieties is the Autumn Glory. “This is the second year of marketing our trademarked variety, Autumn Glory,” Mr. Nager stated.
“The fruit is harvested in October and can be promoted into the spring time. The fruit is a bicolor apple, with a firm but juicy flesh. Its taste is reminiscent of apple pie or apple cider. In other words, what a real apple should taste like,” he said.
Domex is promoting Fuji with special tray pack promotions. There are also opportunities for mix fruit opportunities that include Red Delicious, Fuji and navel oranges in five-pound bags.
“We have available bins with ‘farm fresh’ graphics which provide the consumer with a local feel,” he added.
During the past few years, Domex has undertaken a series of improvements to its packing facilities in Washington.
“In November 2012, we began packing on a new state-of-the-art packing facility in Yakima,” Mr. Nager commented. “September of 2011 was the unveiling of a new packing facility in Selah. And the fall of 2010 saw a brand new packing line in Tieton.”
The company has also made improvements to its warehousing, cooling and shipping locations in its Yakima facility as well as in Peshashtin and Wenatchee.