That said, compared to last year’s market, apple volume is up this year. “This time last year, we had less volume of fruit in storage due to historic weather conditions from the 2016 growing season,” she says.
While pricing was strongest at the start of the season due to a scarcity of supplies says Briggs, the market has adjusted. “The market has since moderated and is steady,” says Briggs noting that while this year’s apple crop is one of the largest crops in recent years, there is some considerable volume in small-sized or bagging apples from the West Coast. “This has lowered prices to levels several dollars below a year ago,” she says. “Pricing for larger sizes are in line to slightly above last season. The other factor impacting demand and pricing is the increase in freight rates and tight availability of trucking. Interruption and delays in service from the West coast has been a boon to our movement.”
Looking ahead, Briggs sees little change coming in the next few weeks. “Sales have been strong at the start of the year and we are working with our partners to keep apple promotions highlighted on the shelf,” she says. Part of that is a new product Rice has introduced, the four-apple snack box that’s housed in a 100 percent recyclable, grab-and-go box.
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Rice Fruit Co.