( Superfresh Growers )

Apples are on a roll, and that momentum should continue nicely into August and the new crop.

From June 1 through the third week of July, Washington apple shipments have bested 2018 and 2017 shipment levels by 29% and 30%, respectively, Catherine Gipe-Stewart, communications manager for Yakima, Wash.-based Superfresh Growers, said in a news release.

“Based on the movement we see — more than 10 straight weeks of +2 million-box shipments — we are encouraging retailers to set early ads on organic and conventional apples, starting in August,” Gipe-Stewart said July 21 in the release.  The shipment numbers are reported by the Washington State Tree Fruit Association Weekly Shipments Report, according to the release.

“We begin harvest next week, and anticipate exceptionally high demand for new-crop gala, Honeycrisp and other apple varieties. Retailers who carve out plenty of promotional space for apples should earn big sales.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are making fewer trips to grocery stores but buying more produce when they are there, she said in the release. Apples, with good shelf life and plenty of “grab and go” options, have fared well. Apples also are popular in online produce sales, Gipe-Stewart said in the release.

“Apples are known for their excellent shelf life, convenience and a good source of vitamin C,” she said in the release. “I think that is why we’ve seen such strong demand for apples this summer versus other summers. Plus, we are seeing a strong desire to purchase U.S.-grown food this year, supporting American farmers.”

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