Hudson River Fruit Distributors excited about new varieties
Hudson River Fruit Distributors has been around for almost 60 years, and a fourth generation of the Albinder family is now running the company, continuing to satisfy the needs of all customers.
The Milton, NY-based company are apple growers, packers, and shippers, plus represent more than 70 other commercial apple growers throughout New York state and New England.
“In the fall, many of the traditional heirloom apples are marketed such as Ginger Golds, Macouns, Cortlands and Empires so we are excited to sell a new lineup come January,” said Alisha Albinder Camac, operations manager and a fourth-generation family member at Hudson River Fruit Distributors. “RubyFrost is a perfect apple for a winter fresh campaign — it’s been in the market for around six years.”
Evercrisp, a cross between a Fuji and Honeycrisp, is also a newer variety doing well for the company. Camac explains this apple is “super sweet with an intense crunch.” Conversely, Pink Lady has been in the market place for a while, but has grown more heavily on the East Coast in recent years.
“We are excited about the winter apple category as it highlights and brings to market some newer apple varieties that taste better after being stored for a bit of time,” Camac said. “Evercrisp, RubyFrost and Pink Lady apples are newer to our offerings, and are being well received in the market.”
One thing that years of experience have taught the family is that fresh-tasting, hard apples are the key drivers to establishing a successful variety in the winter months.
“We are hopeful that these newer varieties will have more following and market share in the year ahead,” Camac said. “The best way to get and keep a new customer is to give them something worth coming back for and we feel these varieties hit the mark.”
As of late December, the trees at the farm are in hibernation mode, resting up after a big year. Hudson River Fruit Distributors expects to see signs of a new crop in early spring.
Business in 2021 was strong for the company, and thankfully, the pandemic did not put much of a damper on sales or the apple category overall.
“We are excited to see continued sales of new varieties, some of which have been in the making for 15-plus years,” Camac said.
Of course, a big part of successful sales falls on the retailers’ shoulders and the company does what it can to help.
“Allocating proper shelf space is always a key and building nice displays with proper marketing material will help sales,” Camac said. “It’s no easy feat, but when it’s done right, you can really move volume.”
Apple brand identification and consumer education are both important to success for both parties. “A lot of consumers don’t realize how many different varieties there are so it’s a challenge to deliver that message,” Camac said.
Looking ahead to 2022, Hudson River Fruit Distributors will be building a new 100,000 BU cold atmosphere storage facility that will be ready for the new crop.
“This was needed in order to keep up with our increased acreage and crop size,” Camac said.