Developing a truly new and exciting apple in a very crowded produce category requires patience and persistence to differentiate a variety from the over 2,500 domestic apples currently available. The Midwest Apple Improvement Association (Newcomerstown, OH) has developed EverCrisp®, a cross between Honeycrisp and Fuji, and worked with a select group of growers like United Apple Sales (Lyndonville, NY) to commercialize the variety and bring something new to retailers at a time when apple sales typically slow down.
Ward Dobbins, fourth generation grower and owner of United Apple Sales, commented that EverCrisp continues to perform well in the upper eastern region, which offers an ideal climate to grow the apple. “Our orchards have seen a 100% increase in production volume since 2017/2018. We have also seen the quality getting even stronger as trees mature. This enables us to work closely with our retail partners in providing supply assurance to give them a true apple advantage late in the season,” said Dobbins.
Another indication of the market strength and growing demand of the apple is the fact that many growers are planting additional EverCrisp trees this spring. Dobbins indicated that making decisions about new plantings and allocating space in the orchards are key strategic commitments. “We have a comprehensive plan that we develop to maximize our overall returns to growers, so we look for varieties that draw well in the consumer market. EverCrisp has proven itself as a good variety to be grown in the upper eastern US and we are excited to add more acres to our farms,” Dobbins stated. He indicated that weather and conditions permitting, new plantings are scheduled for April.
Tops Friendly Markets Executives (L: Jeff Cady - Director of Produce and Floral, and R: Justin Rowe - Category Business Manager - Produce)
The combination of EverCrisp parentage gives consumers an unexpected, exhilarating burst of sweet and tart flavors. “Our team has run store samplings with EverCrisp and consumers are amazed at the crisp flesh and the amazing flavor. We have helped retailers get consumers to walk back down the apple aisle and find Evercrisp to bring home a new favorite piece of winter fruit,” said Brett Baker, United Apple Sales Director.
Tops Friendly Markets, a chain of 159 retail stores in NY, PA and VT, and Independent Retailer of the Year Award winner, has found EverCrisp to be a great addition to its apple category. “The Honeycrisp has a strong following on its own and when you add in the tang from Fuji, EverCrisp creates a truly unique flavor profile and crispness. We pride ourselves in making our produce department a destination for consumers. EverCrisp gives us another exciting point of differentiation for our stores,” stated Jeff Cady, Director of Produce and Floral for Tops.