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Crunch Time Apple Growers hype SnapDragon and RubyFrost apples

By
Keith Loria

Crunch Time Apple Growers, a cooperative of 152 growers throughout New York State, will be exhibiting at the New York Produce Show this year. Members of the Lockport, NY-based entity will also be attending a few of the events, including breakfast, the reception and one of the Friday tours.

“We will be in booth No. 200 again this year,” said Jessica Wells, executive director of Crunch Time Apple Growers. “Keep your eyes open for Snappy the Dragon suited up in his Buffalo Bills gear to highlight our partnership with the Bills — as the Official Apple of the Buffalo Bills.”

Of course, Crunch Time Apple Growers leads efforts on the growing and marketing of two popular apples — SnapDragon and RubyFrost — which are marketed in bulk and various pack styles. Members of the team will be highlighting these apples throughout the show hours.

“SnapDragon and RubyFrost apples were bred at Cornell University in Geneva, NY, and all of Crunch Time’s commercial growers are New York State growers, making this our ‘home’ show,” Wells said. “While we are represented by our sales partners at a lot of shows across the country, we’ve always felt like the New York show was one that we should attend as a company as well — showcasing our two brands, SnapDragon and RubyFrost apples to the home crowd as well as to buyers from across the country that attend the show.”

It’s been a unique year for apples around the country, and Wells expects Washington state’s short apple crop will be a topic of conversation, as buyers will be looking to fill the space that Washington apples would normally fill.  

“Now that pandemic restrictions are mostly a thing of the past, I would also expect that there will be more conversations about consumer engagement within the store and at local events to promote products,” Wells said.

Weeks before the show, Crunch Time Apple Growers works with its sales partners and marketing agency, Slide Nine, to ensure it’s got everything in place for a successful show.

Wells will be representing the company at the show along with the chairman of the board of directors, Joel Crist and Chris Piedmont from Slide Nine. Several of its sales partners will have booths of their own at the show including Hudson River Fruit, Fowler Bros, New York Apple Sales, Hess Brothers, Rice Fruit and Apple Acres.  

“Last year was my first show, just meeting people in person after a couple of years of Zoom meetings and phone calls made that show a success,” Wells said. “While this year, the expectations are higher, I feel strongly that the produce show is about building new relationships and strengthening existing ones.”

In 2022, the SnapDragon harvest was up more than 25 percent year-over-year, with sales volume up 65 percent over this time last year. Crunch Time expects demand to continue to be strong through the season.

“SnapDragon apples are becoming a fan favorite,” Wells said. “Consumers buy them once and will come back again and again to restock their fruit bowl or crisper drawer. We want retailers to know that we will work with them to market SnapDragon and RubyFrost to their consumers once they are in the store, using the tools that their consumers respond to best.”

Looking ahead, Crunch Time expects crop volume to continue to increase, as planted acreage reaches maturity, and more fruit is planted.  

“Our marketing efforts will continue to support crop growth, focusing on growing our reach and increasing penetration within existing markets,” Wells said.

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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