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Organics date back nearly 30 years at Stemilt
“Organic” as a category continues to expand at Stemilt Growers in Wenatchee, WA, drawing from a practice established nearly 30 years ago when many growers considered it to be a passing fad. According to Brianna Shales, communications manager, “Organics aren’t actually new at Stemilt. We’ve been growing fruit organically since 1989, and this early adoption has given us an edge in the category. The growth as of late is all centered on growing varieties organically... Read more
Strong potato market for Bushmans’
Potato prices remain strong. “The strength of this year surprised all of us,” said Mike Carter, chief executive officer of Bushmans’ Inc. “We didn’t anticipate it running this strong, this long. “Wisconsin is on target with our pack plan and volume. A little more is in storage” than was expected “but we can stretch the season, he said.Mike Carter “It’s a good quality year and we’ve had no storage issues at all. By December you know the longevity of a crop in storage,”... Read more
Strawberry’s enjoying the Sweet Life (Farms)
Great weather, specifically warm temperatures when Sweet Life Farms first started planting, and the cooler than usual temps in late November and early December — has created an ideal strawberry crop according to Mark McDonald, president of Sweet Life Farms, based in Plant City, FL. He added that the weather would also impact the next crop. Mark McDonald, Andy McDonald and Shane McDonald. “Barring any severe weather, we’re planning on seeing some really good production... Read more
Rocky Produce sees berry good things on the horizon
Rocky Produce has been delivering a full line of high-quality fruits and vegetables for more than 50 years to retailers throughout the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, South, and Ontario. And the Detroit, MI-based company has no plans of slowing down any time soon.The Rocky Produce team “Business has been going really well,” said Dominic Russo, buying and sales director/logistics coordinator for Rocky Produce. “Our relationships with our growers are strong. Whatever they... Read more
The Giumarra Cos. gearing up for Chilean harvest
The end of the year means the start of the season in Chile, and The Giumarra Cos., is predicting good quality and volumes based on its early projections from the field. Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos. has been working with growers in Chile since the 1970s, bringing fresh Chilean fruit to the U.S. market. “Today, our product line from Chile includes grapes, blueberries, avocados, stone fruit, cherries, apples, citrus, kiwifruit, pears,... Read more
Rainier focuses on year-round planning with retail partners
Andy Tudor, vice president of business development at Rainier Fruit Co. in Yakima, WA, recently noted a consistency in market and demand for apples this season as traditional varieties sell well and newer varieties continually gain in popularity. In perspective, he said, “Our focus is always on moving the entire manifest,” and he continued, “The challenge with this year’s crop is smaller fruit size and trying to get retailers to move to the heart of the manifest.... Read more
Bins of bulk apples, while still an integral part of most retail produce departments, are giving way in great part to the many new packaging options. Some say these new apple packages are better suited for today’s smaller families. Others claim that certain sized apples are better for different age groups. Packaging also offer convenience, and they prevent apples from being handled at the store and other levels. Jim Allen, vice president of marketing for New York... Read more
At a time when the number of worldwide social media users reached 1.96 billion, a number expected to increase to more than 2.5 billion by the end of 2018, those in the apple industry have been utilizing the power of social sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get their messages out to consumers. In recent years, as traditional newsrooms have shrunk and consumer attention has shifted to social channels for news and information, the New York Apple... Read more
Most apple producers in the Northeast enjoyed a great growing season that resulted in a great crop of nice size apples. Fowler Bros. Inc. in Wolcott, NY, included in the beneficial kindness of Mother Nature. “The apples enjoyed warm, sunny days following a cool, wet spring,” said David Williams, vice president of sales and marketing. “Stored apple conditions are now near normal for this time of the year.” He added that pricing and demand were good leading into... Read more
For nearly seven decades the Evans name has been synonymous with Washington’s famed Red Delicious apple, and while Reds continue to be the cornerstone of Evans Fruit Co.’s large export program, there is increased production of high-colored varietals like the Gale Gala and Aztec Fuji. Suzanne Wolter, who joined Evans Fruit in Cowiche, WA, as marketing director in August 2017, said the philosophy pertaining to varietals is much the same as that pertaining to Reds. “Our... Read more
Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission, based in Wenatchee, WA, said one of the chief goals of the organization is to build and increase demand for Washington apples in international markets.  “As we enjoy increased varietal diversification, our goal is to match industry’s changing varietal manifest with middle- to high-income consumers in international markets,” he said. “Often it’s not about introducing all of the new flavors and textures... Read more
During harvesting season last fall, Lancaster, PA-based Hess Bros. Fruit Co. was anticipating an excellent crop of apples, and that is precisely what they got. Andy Figart, Hess Bros.’ sales manager, said things continue to look great as the company heads into January with stored apples. “The quality of our apples in storage right now is excellent,” said Figart. “With the exception of some hail storms in some of our growing regions, we had a good growing season... Read more
The unique soils and climate in the Adams County, PA region have been producing some of the best tasting apples in country for hundreds of years. And Rice Fruit Co.’s 105-year history of apple production is proof. Brenda Briggs, vice president of sales and marketing for the Gardners, PA-based company, told The Produce News that customers will continue to be delighted with its fruit quality throughout the winter and spring. “Our climate, coupled with the expert... Read more
Vanguard International has been actively engaged in the marketing of apples since its beginning in 1991 and being a global company founded in the Pacific Northwest, it was a natural fit to promote apples to its clients around the world.   “Today we market well over 2 million boxes of apples from more than a dozen countries, and are particularly excited to now also be a vertically-integrated grower, packer, and shipper with our purchase... Read more
Unlike some years that delivered heavy rains, late freezes and even hail storms, New York state enjoyed optimal weather conditions as the 2017 crop was blooming, maturing, being harvested and moved into storage. “The 2017 apples went into storage at the absolute right time, and at their best level of maturity,” said Vice President of Marketing, Jim Allen for New York Apple Sales, a leading apple grower headquartered in Glenmont, NY. “This will greatly enhance the... Read more
Neal Carter, president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, in Summerland, BC, considers the company’s role in the apple industry as bringing in value throughout the supply chain — especially to consumers — through its innovative approaches to fruit development. “With our flagship family of non-browning apples, some of the biggest benefits can be categorized into two main areas,” he said. “Over 40 percent of apples grown are wasted so certainly one of the main purposes... Read more
Honeycrisp remains a huge factor in apple sales for Wenatchee, WA-based Stemilt Growers, holding steady as the number-two apple in terms of volume and the top dollar generating variety, according to Communications Manager Brianna Shales.   Shales told The Produce News in mid-December the company expects the Honeycrisp trend “to continue as the November data releases.” “The crop is moving pretty well at this point in the season,” she said, noting that other... Read more
Autumn Glory continues to shine for Domex Superfresh Growers
Domex Superfresh Growers is a leading grower and shipper of both conventional and organic apples, offering all major apple varieties including Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith. It is also the exclusive grower of the Autumn Glory apple, a variety known for having a very sweet, firm flesh with subtle notes of caramel and cinnamon. “We like to take the watch apart every single day and find a better way of putting it back together, with an emphasis... Read more
In 1993 when Sev-Rend was founded in St. Louis by Robert (Bob) Williams Sr. and his son, Robert (Rob) Williams Jr., they had one in-line two-color printing press that was utilized to manufacture Strip Tags that were marketed solely to the produce industry. As the company has grown so has Sev-Rend’s product portfolio. Soon it was offering a plethora of tags and labels, such as the widely known Wineglass Tag and the Clip-to-Clip Tag. As the product offering grew,... Read more
NYAA bullish about NY apples
Since 1959, a majority of New York state apple growers have agreed to pay an assessment to promote New York state apples and apple products, provide grower communications, and conduct consumer research, and the New York Apple Association, Inc. takes that responsibility seriously. “Our primary mission is to promote demand for New York state apples and apple products by bringing our industry’s sellers together with retailers, consumers and other buyers,” said Cynthia... Read more