On July 29, Richard Sambado, director of domestic sales for Primavera Marketing Inc., in Linden, CA, told The Produce News that the movement on the company’s California apple crop had started about five days earlier, which was about seven days earlier than the crop started last year.
“An early start can result in a slow movement start,” Sambado explained. “Chile and New Zealand imports are still moving. Washington is still moving some old crop Gala apples on the market. If the state has an early start with its new crop, it could put added pressure on our short window. Movement of our crop is spotty because of this combination of situations.”
Primavera Marketing packs and ships approximately 1.3 million of the 2.2 million boxes of apples produced specifically for the fresh market each year in California.
The company does a nice job in that it provides a niche market not a commodity with volumes of apples. Its “perfect” window is from late July to late August with fresh Gala apples.
“We do over a million boxes of apples each year, but we are heavily frontloaded with the Gala variety, which represents 550,000 boxes this year,” said Sambado.
“These are really nice quality Galas, and we push them based on how great they are,” he continued. “But our goal every year is to move them prior to Labor Day. We are hoping to accomplish that this year, but given our early start we’ll have to wait to see how things unfold. We’re now stumbling out of the block here with this early start, and we’re hearing that Washington might be early with its crop. If that happens we could face some price pressure.”
California growers have been producing apples for decades, but the world’s apple production decreased considerably over the past ten years. Competitive pressures caused growers there to cut back. Today the state has a small niche deal that works well. Primavera is the leader in the state because of its volumes, quality and service.
Primavera Marketing specializes in the Gala apple variety, which Sambado said will certainly be in the number one position within the next couple of years, taking over the Granny Smith variety which has held the position for many years.
“California will produce one million boxes of Galas this year, and we’ll have 550,000 of them,” said Sambado.
“We will also have about 200,000 boxes of Fuji, 425,000 boxes of Granny Smith and around 75,000 boxes of Crisp Pink apples this year,” he added.
Primavera Marketing ships to retail chain stores across the United States, into Canada, and a small portion to offshore countries.
The company also packs and ships walnuts and cherries.
“Cherries are our number one crop,” said Sambado. “About 85 percent of our cracked walnuts go offshore. The demand for walnuts in China is very strong. Although China produces walnuts, they prefer ours because of the high quality.”