“Pretty much all of our customers still use reds,” he said. “It’s still a very important variety.”
Romes and idareds are among the older varieties that continue to decline in volume for Jack Brown, Chase said.
Michigan growers can still grow a great rome, Schaefer said, but there’s only so many varieties growers can grow.
“I’d like to see 500 feet (of retail space) devoted to apples, but it’s not practical,” he said. “The category’s getting pretty crowded.”
Honeycrisps, galas and fujis may get more of the limelight, but don’t forget jonagolds, said Don Armock, president of Sparta, Mich.-based Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc.
“We grow a really good jonagold here, and we have strains now that we really like,” he said.
Many consumers who used to not like jonagolds, do now, Armock said.
That said, Riveridge is also boosting Honeycrisp, gala and fuji production. Armock also reported increased production of the Pink Lady and, to a lesser extent, braeburns. Riveridge has also had success with new strains of mcintoshes.
Like other companies, Belding-based All Fresh GPS expects to ship more galas, Honeycrisp, jonagolds and fujis this season, said Tom Curtis, the company’s president.
All Fresh GPS also looks forward to greater volumes of Kiku and Kanzi proprietary varieties, as well as SweeTangos, Curtis said.
“We’ll have a pretty good crops of SweeTangos,” he said. “It’s quite a considerable jump over 2011.”
All Fresh GPS expects to market fewer jonathans and golden delicious in coming years, but its red delicious volumes should remain fairly steady, Curtis said.
Hillsdale-based Glei’s Inc.’s orchards are producing more fujis, galas and Honeycrisps and fewer red delicious and mcintoshes, said Damon Glei, partner.
The company is focusing on plantings that are more labor-efficient, Glei said.
The trees the company is planting now, for instance, are more often 10 or 11 feet tall instead of 16 or 18 feet, the size of older trees.
Glei’s also purchased a platform to make it even easier for the crop to be harvested.