Birgit Gutberlett from Ökobo GmbH on this year's early apple campaign:

"Price differences with the older produce from the warehouses must not be too big"

This year, the organic top fruit season started a few weeks later than last year. Despite the holiday season, demand for the first early apples has been very good so far, reports Birgit Gutberlett, Managing Director of sales cooperative Ökobo based in Meckenbeuren. "Despite the presence of old goods, which are quite attractive in terms of price, the early apples are flowing in and out continuously."

Ripe apples in the Lake Constance area / Image: ÖKOBO GmbH

In the previous year, the early apples started at very high price levels: "The price differences with the older goods from the storages should not be too large, which is why we have adjusted these prices a bit. The Colina and Deljonca varieties are the most important within the organic food trade," she adds.

Deljonca, Colina and Delbard Estivale are currently traded in larger volumes. Early varieties Sansa and Discovery are already cleared. The current kilo price for the complete range of early apples is €0.10 / kg below last year's level. / Image: ÖKOBO GmbH

Across the spectrum, there are not too many early apples available for marketing, and the campaign is scheduled for final completion by the end of August, Ms. Gutberlett said. "The early apples have a very small marketing window and as soon as the first varieties of the main crop are available on the market, little is expected of early apples, which means that we will not be planting large new varieties on a large scale."

Birgit Gutberlett, Managing Director of ÖKOBO GmbH / Image: ÖKOBO GmbH 

Average harvest expected
A seamless transition to the main crop is also expected. At the beginning of September or around week 36, the first Gala and Elstar apples are expected to appear, says Gutberlett. "In terms of volumes, we will have a little less than last year, but all in all, it will still be an average yield."

For several years now, the main variety in the Bodenseekreis area has been the Topaz. Apart from that, the standard range mainly consists of Elstars, Galas and Jonagolds. "However, one variety that has caught up incredible quickly is the Natyra, which is somewhat difficult to cultivate, but is in constant demand at a reasonable price, and the last few July batches were of outstanding quality."

Employees of the cooperative / Picture: ÖKOBO GmbH 

Year-round regional eco-apples
According to Gutberlett, outside the main season the organic food trade hardly makes use of imported organic hard fruit. Only the varieties that are no longer available from the cold stores are sourced from abroad. "There are just a few imported goods from New Zealand and South America, only to supplement the trade. In the organic food trade, we also have more thoughtful end consumers who actively demand to see German organic apples on the shelf, as long as some remain available."

Soon the main harvest of organic apples in the Lake Constance region will begin / Image: ÖKOBO GmbH

Decentralized marketing structure
In the early 00s, it was from the original producer association Ökobo that there emerged this 'Company with limited liability', consisting of full-marketers and independent companies. The decentralized structure guarantees a certain degree of flexibility, impact and the added value remains on the producers. The main product of the company is apples, but the assortment is rounded off by pears and soft fruit. The traceability of the products has always been an important trademark of the company.

For more information:
Ökologisches Bodenseeobst (ÖKOBO GmbH)
GF: Birgit Gutberlett
Eckener Str. 34
88074 Meckenbeuren
Tel.. 07542 9408754
Fax: 07542 9408753  

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