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Stanley Orchards sees big things coming out of Chile

For more than 35 years, Stanley Orchards Sales LLC has been importing Argentine and Chilean apples and pears and distributing them throughout the United States and Canada, representing brands such as Austrade, Frusan, Greenvic, SM Export, Ecofrut and Rucaray.

Jordan Cohn, sales manager for the Modena, NY-based company, noted that Stanley Orchards is among the larger independent importers of Chilean apples in the United States and a top 10 importer of Chilean pears. Both categories, he said, are on the rise.

“From what we’ve been hearing and seeing out of Chile — and we’ve only had Bartlett pears and Gala apples out of Chile so far — we’re seeing smaller sizes, good condition and good color,” he said. “We thought we were going to have larger sizes but when it became closer to harvest, the sizes trended more toward the medium range. It doesn’t really stray from the five-year average significantly.”

And in terms of volume, it might be slightly less than in 2017, but that is not a cause of concern for Cohn.

What is a concern to those dealing in Chile is the weak dollar against the Chilean peso.

Stanley Orchards works with numerous shippers, and in Cohn’s opinion the secret to success in the industry lies in communication.

“It’s very important to keep good, relevant, current information flowing to customers and suppliers,” he said. “Keeping them up to date on the market and what to expect is crucial.”

The late-winter weather in the United States, with three significant snowstorms in the Northeast in the span of three weeks, has been somewhat of a challenge in moving apples and pears, but historically, March has been a slower time anyway.

Chile, he said, has been on embarking on new, proprietary varieties and is growing varieties that already exist in North America, New Zealand and Europe, and he expects the country will become a big factor in new varieties in the years ahead.

Cohn believes that having Chilean apples and pears this time of year is exciting for customers.

“Customers like having a freshly grown piece of fruit as opposed to something harvested in September of last year,” Cohn said. “To have a nice, crisp apple with good condition and good color is very appealing.”

Stanley Orchards also offers pears from Argentina and apples from New Zealand. The company’s merger with Kopke almost two years ago represented a tremendous opportunity for expansion, sharing the resources that Kopke provides as far as personnel, inspection, marketing and in some cases procurement.

Also of note, the company recently added a new salesman, Eli Petrazzi, who has numerous years in international sales, and he’s already making inroads in the industry.