Crunch Time says RubyFrost ready in stores this month
At the IFPA Global Produce & Floral Show, folks from Crunch Time Apple Growers were spreading the exciting news that RubyFrost apples would be back in stores in November, just in time for the holidays.
“RubyFrost is the perfect apple for the holidays with its beautiful color, a slightly tart flavor profile that makes it ideal for holiday recipes but that is just sweet enough to serve as part of a charcuterie board or as a quick snack,” said Jessica Wells, executive director for Crunch Time Apple Growers, a group of more than 150 New York state-based growers.
Joel Crist, a fifth-generation farmer operating Crist Bros. Orchards Inc., and who serves as Crunch Time Apple Growers’ board chair, noted the apple variety not only looks like royalty, but also tastes great and never fails to deliver crisp and juicy flavor.
The RubyFrost apples were developed by Susan Brown of Cornell University and the variety has grown commercially in New York, providing a competitive advantage over West Coast premium apples with cost-effective transportation to primary selling regions, greater freshness, quality and, ultimately, lower shelf prices.
In addition to many of Crunch Time’s sales agents appearing at IFPA championing the RubyFrost, a number of them also included SnapDragon apples in their exhibits. This apple is the official apple of the Buffalo Bills.
Among those representing the two apples at IFPA were Fowler Bros., Hudson River, Hess Bros., Rice Fruit Co., New York Apple Sales, Riveridge Produce Marketing and Applewood Fresh Growers.
“The IFPA show is an important one for us because it’s timed perfectly in terms of apple harvest,” Wells said. “The apples at the show are about as fresh as they get and everyone is still thinking about apples at that time. It’s a great opportunity to showcase both SnapDragon and RubyFrost apples.”
Crunch Time continues to focus its marketing efforts in areas where SnapDragon and RubyFrost are currently available.
“Our marketing efforts on the wholesales side are focused on expanding the geographic reach of SnapDragon and RubyFrost,” Wells said. “Last season, we produced just over 400,000 bushels of SnapDragon and about 200,000 bushels of RubyFrost to be sold as fresh fruit. We expect those numbers to be up by about 25 percent this season.”
In 2022, the SnapDragon season has gotten off to a tremendous start thanks to great weather just before harvest that resulted in tremendous flavor and color.
“That combined with the success of the variety last year at retail, sales have started off strong,” Wells said.
With RubyFrost harvest just about to begin and ready for November, the prospects look good for that variety as well.
“Our plans for growth began several years back when our grower based signed on to plant additional acreage, that acreage is approaching maturity in the next couple of years — helping us support increased demand for SnapDragon in particular,” Wells said. “As demand increases, we will look for additional acreage to be planted, some of which could be in a geographic area other than New York.”