This past summer, Rainier Fruit overhauled the apple packing line in a facility fully dedicated to organic.
“We upgraded the electronic sorters, added automated tray fillers, installed new near-infrared testers, more efficient PLU applicators and two brand-new mesh bagging machines,” Wolter said. “The packing line improvements have increased our capacity another 25% and streamlined the operation.”
The Pink Lady brand has enjoyed robust growth in organics.
“Last year, we shipped a little over 600,000 boxes, out of a 2.9 million box crop,” said Alan Taylor, marketing director for Wenatchee, Wash.-based Pink Lady America LLC. “The year before, it was a little over 400,000, and the year before that a little over 200,000.
“It’s gone up dramatically. Maybe it’s riding the overall trend of organics in general, and maybe just the overall popularity of the Pink Lady. It’s a high-priced apple to start with.”