Bear Mountain Orchards

Aspers, Pa.-based Bear Mountain Orchards, in partnership with Orrtana, Pa.-based Bream Orchards, is expanding its controlled-atmosphere storage facility by 300,000 bushels, or about double its previous capacity, said John Lott, Bear Mountain president.

The project was scheduled to be completed by Sept. 15, Lott said.

The expansion is a response to increased production at Bear Mountain and Bream Orchards, Lott said.

“The county here has increased production and we needed the capacity,” he said.

The project expands storage that was built four years ago, Lott said.

Bear Mountain grows apples on 1,300 acres and Bream Orchards has 1,000 acres, said Jack Bream, owner of Bream Orchards.

 

Crist Bros. Orchards Inc.

Crist Bros. Orchards Inc., Walden, N.Y., is looking to diversify its apple offerings, said Jeff Crist, president.

“We continue to rapidly upgrade our apple plantings with the various varieties, and we’re upgrading some of our storage facilities and focused on getting the right mix,” he said.

 

El Vista Orchards

Fairfield, Pa.-based El Vista Orchards is moving more of its product toward the fresh market, said David Benner, general manager.

Benner said the company will harvest its largest crop of fresh-market apples during the 2014 season, he said.

“It’s probably up 60% from 10 years ago,” Benner said of the increase in fresh-market apples from his orchards.

It has taken 10-15 years from first plantings of new varieties to reach this point, he said.

“We’re looking forward to harvesting varieties that the market has been asking for,” he said. “Because we went through what we went through the last few years, we’re now into production.”

 

Five Forks Fruit

Five Forks Fruit, Harrisburg, Pa., has added a new packing line in the last year as a way to “increase flexibility,” said Lee Showalter, owner.

It’s a way to fine-tune the operation, he said.

“The last three years, we’ve done a substantial amount of new equipment in our packing area, so we have essentially all updated equipment,” Showalter said.

Among the latest improvements was a new infrared internal sorter, which, Showalter said, enhances fruit quality.

 

Fowler Bros. Inc.

Some apples bags from Wolcott, N.Y.-based grower-shipper Fowler Bros. Inc. will feature characters from Sesame Street, said Lee Peters, vice president of sales and marketing.

“We’re hoping to attract a new generation,” Peters said.

The company is offering a new 2-pound pouch bag for its Sweet Tango apples, Peters said.

Fowler Bros. also recently completed a building, roughly 80-by-20 feet, which it will use for equipment storage, Peters said.

 

New York Apple Association

In July, the Fishers-based New York Apple Association launched a revamped website, www.nyapplecountry.com, said Jim Allen, president.

“It’s very up-to-date, interactive, sharp, precise — basically designed as a consumer website,” Allen said.

Perhaps most important, the site also now is available on mobile devices, Allen said.

“It recognizes how you’re accessing it and it optimizes that,” Allen said.

The site is more interactive than before, Allen said.

“There’s a little industrial information for the trade, but this is primarily for consumer,” Allen said.

The association also is getting into more customized promotions with retailers, Allen said.

The association again will be a corporate sponsor of the New York Marathon, which is Nov. 2.

“We’re going to be very aggressive in the marketplace, mounting a sizeable consumer campaign in New York, New Jersey and much of New York City,” Allen said.

 

Niagara Fresh

Burt, N.Y.-based Niagara Fresh, a subsidiary of Burt-based Bucolo Cold Storage Inc., has completed a $3 million expansion on its packing line that will double its production volume, said Richard Hite, sales development manager.

 

Pennsylvania Apple Marketing

The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program launched its “Pick PA Apples” billboard campaign in August, said Julie Bancroft, executive director.

The campaign, which will cover the state, runs through mid-November, Bancroft said.

“We’re also working on a website (www.pennsylvaniaapples.org) redesign that will be interactive for consumers while also providing valuable resources to grower members and retail and industry partners through a partner portal,” Bancroft said.

The organiation recently had some changes in its board of directors, Bancroft said.

Julie Haller of Aspers-baed Adams County Nursery, who had been serving as chairwoman, left the board in July. Daniel Boyer of Fishtertown-based Ridgetop Orchards became the new chairman. Abby Lott of Aspers-based Bear Mountain Orchards was appointed to the board in July, Bancroft said.

 

Red Jacket Orchards

Geneva, N.Y.-based Red Jacket Orchards is downsizing its 5-pound pack to four pounds as a way to ship more packs in a carton, said Mark Nicholson, executive vice president.

“We’ve found consumers are interested in a smaller pack in those markets, and we’re taking the opportunity to brand it,” he said.

The company also is launching juices in Midwest and West Coast markets, under the Red Jacket label, Nicholson said.

 

Rice Fruit

Gardners, Pa.-based Rice Fruit Co. is introducing packaging and merchandising concepts this season, said Brenda Briggs, vice president of marketing.

“These include an attractive high-graphic tri-wall bin and in-store merchandising pieces that highlight the arrival of new crop eastern apples,” Briggs said.

Rice also is offering a new Honeycrisp pouch, Briggs said.

“In addition to our new packages, we are also striving to maintain our position on the cutting edge of new technologies within the industry,” Briggs said.

For example, Rice Fruit’s quality department will be using a DA Meter, a device that determine maturity levels in fruits. In addition, the company’s grower services department is collaborating with AgroFresh and Rice’s network of growers to explore the potential benefits of Harvista, an orchard formulation of the 1-MCP molecule, Briggs said.

 

Sun Orchard Fruit

Burt, N.Y.-based Sun Orchard Fruit Co. has added to its packing line for the upcoming season, said Tim Mansfield, sales and marketing director.

“We had put in a new packing line last year and, this year, we added that same technology to an existing packing line, which gives us an ability pack bagged apples more efficiently and gives us around 50% increased capacity,” Mansfield said.

 

Turkey Knob Apples

Timberville, Va.-based Turkey Knob Apples Inc., the marketing arm of Bowman Fruit Sales LLC, built a finished goods room this year, where the company will be able to store up to 20,000 cases of fruit at a time, said Jaime Williams, president.

“It’s accommodating extra volume we didn’t have before,” he said.