Large volumes of high-quality apples shipping nationwide

10/02/2013 01:35:00 PM
Andy Nelson

sage fruit apples 2013Courtesy Sage Fruit Co.Apple grower-shippers throughout the U.S. are reporting excellent quality and big volumes.

Sizing was running a little bit smaller on Washington fruit as of Oct. 1, but overall, size profiles in 2013-14 should be good, said John Onstad of Yakima-based Sage Fruit Co.

Early galas and Honeycrisp weren’t coloring as well as growers would like early in the deal, but by October, that also had improved.

“Everything out there now is coloring nicely,” said Onstad, who also reported good packouts the week of Sept. 30.

A dry, warm end to what was already an excellent growing season has meant high brix and excellent overall quality, said Don Armock, president of Sparta, Mich.-based Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc.

“The fruit’s eating really well, and the packouts are better than we’ve seen in a long, long time,” Armock said.

Color and overall quality were very good, and fruit was eating very well as of Oct. 2, said Tim Mansfield, director of sales and marketing for Sun Orchard Fruit Co., Burt, N.Y.

Fruit also was sizing larger than expected, with medium and possibly medium-to-large average sizes the norm, Mansfield said.

“It’s a perfect year as far as fruit coming in,” he said. “I think we’ll be above estimates.”

At the beginning of the Michigan deal, fruit was slightly smaller than expected, but by October size was increasing and Armock predicted that the state could match its 30 million-box pre-season estimate, which would make it one of the largest on record.

In addition to bigger sizing, as more varieties come into production, Armock expects Michigan growers to set weekly-shipment records, and he’s confident demand will be there to meet it.

“Movement has been absolutely great.”

In Washington, however, it was a slightly different story, Onstad said.

“Movement’s been reasonable — we’d like it to be a little better than it’s been,” he said. “It’s not as stellar as we’d like. We know there’s going to be a lot of stuff out there this year. There’s a lot of competition from Eastern crops.”

Demand for New York apples in early fall was running slightly behind supply or in some cases just matching it, Mansfield said.

“Demand has been pretty good,” he said. “Sometimes at this time of year it’s ‘demand exceeds.’”

On Oct. 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $26 for carton tray packs of galas 72-88s from Washington, comparable to last year at the same time.



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