Smaller Jazz sizes boost bag, export promotions - The Packer

Smaller Jazz sizes boost bag, export promotions

10/24/2013 08:28:00 AM
Tom Karst

NEW ORLEANS — Larger than anticipated volume of smaller-sized Jazz apples will boost bag and export opportunities for Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group.

The 2013 Jazz crop from Oppenheimer’s 40 Washington growers is expected to total about 1 million to 1.1 million cartons, close to last year’s crop, said David Nelley, apple pear and cherry category director. Sizing is peaking on 100s and 113s for Jazz, he said.

Nelley said there are strong promotional opportunities for 3-pound bags in the U.S. and the chance to move good volume of the preferred smaller fruit to Asian markets.

Hot weather during August caused some maturity issues for all Washington apples at the start of harvest, but Nelley said those issues are over. Harvest started in late September and will continue through May, he said.

Nelley said Oppy’s Pacific Rose production in 2013-14 is expected near 468,000 cartons, up from 450,000 cartons in 2012-13.

Strong export demand

Pacific Rose orchards that were hail damaged a year ago have bounced back, Nelley said Oct 20, at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit. Harvest is expected to begin in late October for Pacific Rose and demand is already strong.

“The export demand is huge, the strongest I’ve seen,” he said.

With an early Chinese New Year (Jan. 31), Oppy will be exporting solidly through November and December to have the fruit arrive in Asia the early part of January.

Nelley said the Pacific Rose is a New Zealand apple variety found ideal growing conditions near Brewster, Wash.

“We get beautiful, big apples, fully red and thin-skinned up here in Washington,” he said. Average size of the Pacific Rose is expected to peak on size 80s.

Growers want to get more U.S. consumers familiar with the variety, and Oppy will sell high-quality export-grade fruit to U.S. retailers, Nelley said.

“We want to show the domestic U.S. market how good this apple can be,” he said.

Retailers who serve Spanish and Asian consumers will be targeted, since the those consumers generally prefer a sweet, thin-skinned fruit. Marketing of Pacific Rose is expected to run from late October through late April, Nelley said.

Oppy’s Envy variety was successful last year, with 68,000 cartons marketed at an average f.o.b. of close to $50 for cartons for all sizes and grades, he said. Volume of the variety was up from only 4,000 cartoons from 2011-12. For 2013-14, Oppenheimer expects to market about 200,000 cartons of Envy, Nelley said.

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