Eastern Apple business updates - The Packer

Eastern Apple business updates

08/21/2014 01:11:00 PM
Jim Offner

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.

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