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D’Arrigo New York brings experience and reach to Eastern apple deal

By
JD LaTorre

One of the biggest players in the Eastern apple deal, D’Arrigo New York brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to benefit growers and customers. “We’re the largest apple house in the Northeast and have been moving Eastern apples for over 40 years,” said Gabriela D’Arrigo, vice president of marketing and communications for D’Arrigo New York in Bronx, NY. “We do a lot of business covering the Eastern apple deal.”

D’Arrigo expects the season to start in mid-August. “We should get a full crop but sizing will be smaller this year in comparison to last year,” she said. “The quality will be good, barring any tumultuous weather conditions during harvest. The season should be similar to last year. It was relatively strong and I think we’re going to see the same again this year. It might come on a little earlier with some of the heat we’ve been seeing but we expect consistent volumes and levels.”

D’Arrigo New York has longevity with the Eastern apple deal selling Eastern product even before handling Western product. “Now, we’re about 50/50 between Eastern and Western product,” said D’Arrigo. “It has been through establishing strong relationships and helping smaller growers get their product to market and become larger companies that our part of the deal has grown too.”

“We have been around since 1948 as a wholesaler but we also come from grower roots,” explained D’Arrigo. “We know the growing pains farmers go through. The combined knowledge and expertise from both sides has been passed down through four generations of family members. We value our expertise and that of our employees. It’s very important to our success and that of our shippers and customers.”

For customers and their consumers, D’Arrigo New York brings value and variety to the apple supply chain. “We provide volume, variety and price,” said D’Arrigo. “We are much more price conscious and much more competitive than the big box players who, 7 out of ten times, are heavily contracted. We have the ability to be flexible with pricing which is a huge advantage to our customer base.”

On the flipside, the company’s terminal market location provides a broad outlet for grower product. “Our wide customer base ranges anywhere from street vendor to covering shorts for chains such as Whole Foods,” said D’Arrigo. “This is a huge help for our suppliers as it provides flexibility in moving product. We’ve made it our business to be able to sell product people think is not sellable. We work very hard for them and consider ourselves as an extension of their sales.”

Eastern apples reach a wider marketplace through D’Arrigo New York’s business. “If you were to mark off a 500 mile radius around New York City, we hit all those areas,” said D’Arrigo. “We have good distribution for Eastern apples into all those major markets. Sometimes we’ve even shipped as far as the Carolinas. We consider ourselves a warehouse and delivery extension for all size growers.”

The company handles all varieties and pack options of Eastern apples. “We’ve always had a really wide variety of Eastern apples across the board, ranging in sizes, regions, and variety,” said D’Arrigo. “If there is an Eastern variety available in the marketplace we have it. The usual heavy hitters are Honey Crisp, Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Pink Lady. But even if it is a specialized variety such as Northern Spy or Macoun, we have it. You name it, we have it. That’s our job.”

The company also works to bring new product options growers are offering to the marketplace. “Snap Dragon and Ruby Frost varieties are coming into a higher volume of production compared to years past,” said D’Arrigo. “And, organic production has grown gradually out of the New York marketplace.”

D’Arrigo expressed seeing consumer buying habits regulating back to pre-COVID-19 times. “Store owners should be prepared to offer wider varieties and higher volumes while still being able to compete with big box stores,” she said. “Shoppers like the idea of local. When they see it’s an Eastern product, they immediately think of supporting their local farmer and local industry. That’s very appealing from a marketing standpoint.”

 

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