“There are plenty of apples,” says Sandy Cohen of Camp Hill, Pa.-based Cohen Produce Marketing. “On certain varieties we’re well ahead of last year—like Reds and Fujis and maybe McIntosh apples. We’re probably on a similar track with Gala and Goldens.”
Demand looks equally steady for apples as well. “Nobody’s breaking the doors down for them. It’s steady,” says Cohen. “The first two weeks of January are always quiet. Everybody’s filled up from the holidays. And the export business was also kind of quiet.”
Those two factors of course add up to relatively stable pricing. “If there’s any weakness, it’s in Red Delicious probably because there’s still a lot of Reds around,” says Cohen. “People’s tastes are changing. They’re looking for Honey Crisp and Fujis and Kikus and all the new varieties and they’re getting away from Red Delicious. Even though Reds constitutes a declining percentage every year, it’s still too many. 10-15 years ago in Washington State, Reds were 49 per cent of the production. Today they’re in the upper 20s, maybe 30. And they really got to get that number down to between 20-22. We all suffer from that issue.”
Too many varieties aren’t the only issue though. “Retailers are struggling with what to put in the stores. They put them in for two to three weeks and then take them out and put something else in and just keep rotating,” Cohen says. “The problem is the sustainability of sales.”
That said, pricing is comparable to the year before he notes, adding that Fujis are up slightly in price as are Goldens. “It’s just following Washington States. Golds are short in Washington and prices are high,” he says.
Looking ahead, Cohen notes that the market generally picks up at the end of January and in February, he also anticipates exports to increase as well.
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Cohen Produce Marketing