The Superalp cooperative gathers 32 apple and pear producers from the Alps. Together, they produce 17,000 tons of apples and 5,000 tons of pears. Servane Jacquet is the sales manager of the cooperative. According to her, the French market is more and more demanding on the aesthetic quality of the products.
“This year, the apple market is a bit peculiar, because the 2017 harvest was very impacted by frost. We could only save about 40% of the harvest. In 2018, the volumes were a bit closer to normal. The difficulty is that we could not serve our customers one year. So it is always difficult to regain the initial consumption level,” explains Servane.
“The second challenge of this year is that, in our region, we had a very cold and humid spring in 2018. A lot of fruits were therefore affected by diseases, so it is not easy to find outputs or remuneration for fruits that cannot be sold in category one. We try to sell them to the industry and also on the fresh market, but this is almost possible,”
A decent pear season
The situation for the pear is quite different. “Visually speaking, the merchandise was much more satisfying. We are ending our season, which went quite well, although relatively uneven across the varieties. For the Louise Bonne and Conference varieties, the market was very competitive. The small calibers suffered the most. As for the varieties of the type Williams or Comice, the flow was easier and more regular. In terms of calibers, we were rather satisfied this year,” adds Servane.
Superalp recently started two innovative pear projects. “We started planting 50 hectares of QTee, which we will market in France. We will also grow and sell the FRED variety.” Some producers of the cooperative are turning to organic production. “In 2021, nearly 15% of our production will be organic.”
As for the apples, Superalp is focused on the mountain Golden. “For the Golden, we are committed to the Red Label and PGI (Alpe d’Haute Durance) specifications.” In parallel, the cooperative offers the varietal equivalents of Gala, Canada Gris, Chanteclair and Fuji apples.
75% of the Superalp fruits are sold on the French market. The remaining 25% are exported to other European countries.