Supermarket Perimeter - May 2020 - 63

FOTOAGENT1 - STOCK.ADOBE.COM, STEMILT GROWERS

An earlier harvest

honeycrisp apples were No. 1 for sales dollars ($73 million) and second
in volume (33 million), he said. They were up 2.4% in dollars, and up
18.8% in volume. Average retail was $2.22 per pound.
"Honeycrisp was heavily promoted, with 74% of its volume sold on
promo, but only 48% of honeycrisp dollars were made while on promo,"
Roby added.
This season, Roby said Domex Superfresh Growers is prioritizing
promotion of its Autumn Glory and Cosmic Crisp apples.
Cosmic crisps entered the market in December, he said, and did
extremely well. In both January and February, the apple maintained the
13th spot nationwide, he said.
Autumn Glory year-over-year sales growth continues to outperform
all core varieties and most club variety apples.
Washington State has a solid crop volume this season (2019-20) with
improved quality and sizing, said Toni Lynn Adams, communications
outreach coordinator for the Wenatchee-based Washington Apple
Commission, adding that the fruit color has been "absolutely excellent."
"The state had favorable, mild spring and summer conditions in 2019,
setting the stage for a healthy crop," she said. "The total crop volume is
on par with the 2017-18 and 2016-17 seasons, after rebounding from a
lower crop volume year in 2018-19."
Washington's harvest window is from September to early November.
"Thanks to storage technologies and experienced suppliers, apple
producers have the ability to provide apples year-round," Adams said.
Brianna Shales, senior marketing manager for Stemilt Growers
Inc., Wenatchee, Wash., said Stemilt grows apples throughout Central
Washington, but with a majority coming from the Columbia Basin
growing region, including towns such as Quincy, Mattawa and Othello.
"We will have our largest crop of our signature Rave apple yet in
2020," she said. "This apple is part honeycrisp, part MonArk and comes
from the same breeder that developed honeycrisp and SweeTango."
The apple variety ripens and harvests in late July/early August
and has the unique position as being the first apple to market from
Washington State (plus it has honeycrisp as a parent).
"Rave is outrageously juicy with a refreshing snappy zing," Shales
said. "Stemilt is very excited about helping retailers jumpstart their apple
supplies in August with Rave and backs this awesome apple with lots of
work in consumer PR/social media."

Chill hours typically are not a problem in Washington because of the
cold nights experienced in the eastern part of the state, said Chuck
Sinks, president of sales and marketing for Sage Fruit Co., Yakima, Wash.
The majority of the company's apples are grown in the Yakima Valley
and near Royal City in the Columbia Basin.
"We have experienced warmer weather than normal, so we think
harvest will be moved up unless something changes in the weather
patterns," Sinks said.
"The summer cherry crop can sometimes be an indicator of what's
to come with fall apple harvest," he continued. "We project a cherry
harvest about seven to 10 days before last year. An early harvest can
make trees vulnerable to frost damage. The impact on apple trees
remains to be seen."
Rebecca Catlett, director of marketing and communications of
Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., Summerland, British Columbia, Canada,
said the company is promoting its two varieties, Arctic Golden and
Arctic Granny in fresh, pre-sliced packages. Two consumer pack sizes
are available: 5-ounce and 10-ounce bags; a 40-ounce bag is also
available for instore fresh-cut programs.
"We estimate that we will harvest 15,000 apple bins on 500 producing
acres in 2020," she said. "In total, we have roughly 1,300 acres, but not
all acres are currently producing fruit."
All commercial Arctic apple trees are planted in Washington State,
where Catlett said the weather this season has been relatively normal
to date.
"There were a few cold snaps in January, but nothing out of the
ordinary," she added. "Temperatures were slightly above normal in
late February and early March, but a cool mid-March slowed bud
development back to seasonal timing. We are presently at half green
stage and anticipate our apples to bloom around April 18."

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