New York Apple Sales says things have turned for the better
Glenmont, NY-based New York Apple Sales was feeling a bit pessimistic during the initial growth patterns of apples coming out of dormancy prior to bloom earlier this year. But conditions since then have resulted in a much better outlook.
Vice President of Marketing, Jim Allen, said the 2019 is now surprising the company, and in a positive way.
“Although our winter was normal during the initial bloom, we were not seeing the number of buds on the trees that we wanted,” he explained. “At that time, we attributed the lower bud counts to last year’s heavy crop and drought conditions last August. As this year’s bloom approached, it appeared to be spotty and with some varieties showing very low bloom.”
But good news was on the horizon. Allen said the bloom period offered just enough dry, warm days that allowed busy bee activity to adequately set a crop.
“And with plenty of moisture and decent temperatures, the crop is now growing better than expected,” noted Allen. “Recent very warm weather and moisture has greatly improved the crop. Even varieties that looked quite weak have now rebounded. Now, at the end of July, we are confident and encouraged by the crop.”
Allen explained that at the annual Premier Apple Meeting held at the end of June in Syracuse, NY, the first estimates for this year’s USA apple crop were released.
New York State’s estimate for 2019 is 31 million which is down seven percent from 2018, but right at its five-year average.
“Our neighbors to the south; Pennsylvania and Virginia, are also showing decreases bringing the East in at down three percent from 2018,” added Allen. “Midwest Michigan is reporting being up 14 percent over 2018.”
“Of course, the big gorilla, Washington state, which is the market setter for apples, is predicted to be up 14 percent over last year, and 11 percent above its five-year average,” he continued.
“This year’s Washington crop is pegged at 182 million. The entire U.S. crop for 2019 could topple 268 million, which is eight percent higher than our five-year average.”
New York Apple Sales is now focusing on its elite and hot apple varieties which include Honeycrisp, EverCrisp, SweeTango, SnapDragon, RubyFrost and KORU varieties. Additionally, Gala, Fuji and Pink Lady apples are becoming the commodity favorites and are joined by the state’s popular McIntosh apple. Regional classics like Empire, Cortland and Jonagold still hold space in certain markets, along with Red and Golden Delicious.
“New trends and big changes that will continue to gain velocity in the market is the reduction of plastic packaging and the increased use of zero-waste materials,” stressed Allen. “Consumer pressure on retailers to reduce materials that are greatly hurting our environment is forcing the retail and the packaging industries to look deeper into sustainable materials.”
New York Apple Sales is stepping up to meet today’s sustainable demand with its new packaging.
“New York Apple Sales is a member of the How to Recycle movement,” explained Allen. “The movement aims at helping to educate consumers on what to do with used plastic. We will be using a new How to Recycle logo on our bags which provides instructions to consumers about how to recycle the poly apple bag.
“Additionally, some of or bags incorporate NuPlastiQ, which is a partially organic-based resin that will eventually decompose compared to regular poly that does not compose,” he added.
New York Apple Sales also utilizes Reusable Plastic Containers, commonly referred to as RPC.
The company’s carton suppliers also practice sustainable manufacturing by using recycled corrugated cartons, special inks that will not adversely affect the environment and soluble glues.
“Each little step can help protect our Earth,” pointed out Allen.
Despite the wet spring, New York Apple Sales grower-partners were able to replant orchards in addition to planting hundreds of acres of new orchards this year.
“The expansion of production continues to grow in New York state,” said Allen. “We are replacing varieties that are no longer market friendly with those that are growing in demand, like EverCrisp, Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, and the two New York State varieties; SnapDragon and RubyFrost.”
He pointed out that the company’s nine packing facilities across New York are getting geared up for the new crop. Its staff continues to react to both market trends and growing operations.
“We have a team in the field to oversee growing, harvesting and storage of the fruit,” said Allen. “Our marketing team is on the road and in the marketplace meeting and visiting with retailers across the country. We are all emphasizing and paying special attention to new packaging and sustainable practices.”
Allen said this year’s crop is running about a week later than normal, but the warm temperatures and plenty of rain in July could have the crop easily catching up.
“Traditionally the Lower Hudson Valley starts movement by the end of August, followed by Upper Hudson and then the Western region,” he said. “North Country, New York, will be the last area to start harvesting, around Sept. 1.
“While the 2019 crop has a long way to go, and changes can certainly take place, God willing and weather permitting we will have a good crop and be ready to go to market with good timing,” he added.