( Rice Fruit Co. )

CMI Orchards boosts organic

Wenatchee, Wash.-based CMI Orchards is increasing its organic volume.

“We’re excited about the coming opportunities in 2018,” said Steve Lutz, senior strategist.

“We’re moving toward having 25% of our total production in organics. We’re really excited about the mix of products we have available to help our customers drive apple category sales.”


Fowler bolsters EverCrisp, cider

Wolcott, N.Y.-based Fowler Bros. Inc. is looking to increase production of its EverCrisp variety apple, said Dave Williams, vice president of sales and marketing.

“It’s been out there in a small way in the last year and will be in a bigger way next year,” he said.

Fowler also is focusing on different apple varieties used in its lineup of ciders, which now comprises about 5% to 7% of the company’s business, Williams said.

Labels now are color-coded by variety, Williams said.


Hudson River expands storage

Milton, N.Y.-based Hudson River Fruit Distributors is planning to build a cold-storage facility in 2018, said Alisha Albinder, operations manager.

“With all of the young trees in the ground, we think it’s a good opportunity to start preparing for larger crops in the coming years,” she said.


New York Apple promotes fruit

The Fishers-based New York Apple Association was sponsor of the New York Produce Show’s opening reception Dec. 12, which was a first for the association, said Cynthia Haskins, president and CEO.

In October, the association sponsored the FarmOn Foundation’s annual Big Apple Crunch, which had more than 2 million New Yorkers eating apples, Haskins said.

In November, the association celebrated its 20th year providing the “official apples” to the New York City Marathon, Haskins said.


Oppy takes Envy year-round

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer Group, which markets apples for its New Zealand-based grower partner Turners & Growers Ltd., will have year-round supplies of its Envy variety apple for the first time in 2018, said David Nelley, vice president, categories. Envy will become Oppy’s largest-volume apple, with more than 1 million boxes anticipated in 2018, Nelley said, noting that the company will have more Envys than royal galas, fujis and braeburns combined.

Also, starting in January, Oppenheimer will offer a 2-pound juicing bag of Pacific Rose apples.


Rice Fruit Co. makes transitions

Gardners, Pa.-based Rice Fruit Co. just completed “a year of significant changes, all geared toward continuing (the company’s) strong role in the industry,” said Brenda Briggs, vice president of sales and marketing.

Changes in 2017 included the retirement of longtime president John Rice, who handed that role to his son, Benjamin Rice, and the promotion of Briggs to head of the sales and marketing staff.

Rice Fruit also hired Alexandra Roberts for its food safety staff in 2017, Briggs said.


Stemilt Growers bumps up Piñatas

Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers LLC said it has increased volumes of its signature variety, the Piñata.

“It now has near year-round availability and a high percentage grown organically,” said Brianna Shales, communications manager.

Stemilt will start a new program called Honeyhill premium Honeycrisp apples in late winter, she said.


Washington plans overseas promos

The Wenatchee-based Washington Apple Commission has three new marketing campaigns for offshore customers.

In “Amazing Washington Apple,” varieties take on attributes of superheroes, said Lindsey Huber, international marketing specialist.

The second marketing campaign, “Live Healthy, Love Life,” is targeted at customers in China and Taiwan and focuses primarily on red delicious, gala and granny smith varieties, Huber said.

The third program, for Latin America, emphasizes the versatility of Washington apples through a “Tu Manzana, Tu Antoio” (“Your Apple, Your Craving”) message, Huber said.