Washington is welcoming a better apple crop this season compared to the one of 2022 which saw deep freezes and other inclement weather affect yield. Rochelle Bohm, vice president of marketing for CMI Orchards LLC notes that while last year’s crop hit around the 100 million box mark, this year the state anticipates somewhere around 127-130 million boxes. “While this year won’t necessarily be one of our biggest seasons in terms of volume, it’s more in line with our state average, and CMI has the largest selection of core, high-flavor branded and organic apples available to meet shopper demand,” says Bohm.
CMI has finished harvesting many core varieties such as Gala and Honeycrisp (above) and it’s starting to harvest Ambrosia Gold®.
Following harvest starting late last month, all signs are pointing to a strong-looking crop for Washington. “This year, the fruit is really, really clean so free of a lot of the rubs and russeting that you see when you get a lot of wind or temperature extremes,” she says. “Some of our seasoned growers who’ve been doing it for four or five decades are saying they’ve never seen fruit look this exceptional.
Harvest for CMI will go as late as the beginning of November. While earlier in the year the thinking was that apples may be--like cherries--late to harvest, following the heat of the summer, growing caught up and harvest began right on time. Right now, CMI has finished harvesting many core varieties such as Gala and Honeycrisp and it’s starting to harvest Ambrosia Gold®, after which it will move into Red Delicious and Granny Smith. In turn, many of its specialty varieties will be harvested in October including Kanzi®, SugarBee®, Envy™, KIKU®, Pink Lady and EverCrisp®. In addition, a recently announced partnership between CMI Orchards and Starr Ranch Growers brings two new varieties into the fold: Juici™ and Karma® included with 8.1 million cartons of core and organic apples and pears.
Many of CMI's specialty varieties will be harvested in October including Kanzi® (above).
Peak season and promotions
As for demand, it’s peak North American apple season which makes demand strong and steady. “We’re seeing a lot of retailers running promotions at this time of year to kick off the harvest season,” says Bohm. “Our main message to retailers is to continue to promote apples and educate consumers on the flavors of the different apples and incentivize them to try new varieties—so purchasing decisions are not only based on pricing but flavor.”
On apple demand, it’s peak North American apple season which makes demand strong and steady.
Between the core varieties and the specialty options for consumers in apples, CMI also continues to look into ways to educate shoppers on the flavor differences of apples, especially given the increasing challenges with securing retail floor space and in-store signage. That means it continues to work on including varietal information on its packaging, and also using sites such as https://www.flavogram.com/ to deliver that information clearly and consistently to consumers.