“We’re hoping to get in early and grab some of that shelf space and hang on to it,” he said. Riggan said there will be more competition from bag-sized apples in Michigan.
The lack of Midwest and East production resulted in artificially high floor for prices because of the demand for processing apples for fresh cut. Riggan said that will fall back to more normal patterns this year.
“The key thing for us to come into this year and try maintain the momentum we’ve carried through the summer,” he said. “We’re got to be smart to set our pricing not too high. We can reasonable and maintain that prices through the season, and buyers love consistency.”
The shift to galas has allowed the industry to begin shipping about a month earlier than when the state relied heavily on red delicious, Pepperl said, and that has opened opportunities for the state to get off to a fast start marketing the crop.