( File photo courtesy Crunch Time Apple Growers )

Harvest season is underway for SnapDragon apples, grown exclusively by Crunch Time Apple Growers, Lockport, N.Y.

The New York state-based cooperative of 151 growers is adding direct-market growers in five states — Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Illinois, according to a news release.

“The continued year-over-year growth that SnapDragon has experienced has us extremely confident in its performance this season,” Jessica Wells, business manager, said in the release. 

This apple variety has sold out every season since its release in 2014, according to the release. 

Crunch Time Apple Growers commissioned Category Partners to study three East Coast retailers that provided consistent shelf space to SnapDragon during the prime-buying season from Dec. 1-March 1.

The findings showed:  

  • 75% of premium apple sales are driven by three varieties, including SnapDragon;
  • SnapDragon performance in volume and dollars was substantially stronger than the composite of the top 10 premium varieties;
  • Retailers that maintained shelf space throughout the season saw consistent sales increases each week, with the most significant gains taking place in the third month of sales; and
  • For retailers, revenue and volume consistently increased, indicating positive consumer reaction and sales performance built on repeat purchases. 

“It comes down to the nature of the apple,” said fifth-generation farmer, Joel Crist, of Crist Bros. Orchards Inc. and Crunch Time board chairman, said in the release. “Its crunchy texture and sweet taste are extremely appealing.”

The new growers will begin planting SnapDragon trees this year, which are expected to yield fruit within three years. 

New growers include Schwallier’s Country Basket in Sparta, Mich., Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala, Ohio, Center Grove Orchard in Cambridge, Iowa, Cary’s Garden of Eatin in Urbana, Ill. and Frecon Farms in Boyertown, Pa. 

Related news:

Crunch Time Apple Growers SnapDragon had a monster 2018 season

Crunch Time premium apples show well in study

Fall will likely see more apples in bags and totes