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New apple variety makes its debut

From Nova Scotia right now, the supply of apples is still very good. "The Honeycrisp variety in particular, though we can see those wrapping up in July, possibly even early August," says Michael Van Meekeren of Van Meekeren Farms, adding that it packs apples from the eastern Canadian province year-round. "Other varieties are moving along on pace as with most typical years. We're not heavy in supply on a lot of other varieties and some, like Pazazz, we're almost out which is two or three months early. That's a bit of an anomaly given the North American supply."

That's a sign that demand has been good–particularly so in a year of heavy promotions on apples. Van Meekeren Farms started its post-harvest marketing quite aggressively, as did other growers from regions across North America, because of the increase in overall apple volume on the 2023-2024 crop. "When one region is promoting a lot, other regions need to respond. We have seen lots of competition this season thus far," says Van Meekeren.

That said, the apple movement is strong on the plentiful supply that is still available. "The Honeycrisp average price has dropped significantly and in doing so, it's impacted all other apples," says Van Meekeren. "They're such a favorite that when they're the same cost as other apples on the shelf, they're often chosen first. It's created a shift in which apples are moving through retail."

In club varieties which are often perceived as higher-value apples, there was a tier price-wise between Honeycrisp and conventional varieties. "That price window has become very narrow in some cases and it's quite tough to sell any apple higher than a Honeycrisp. However this year we've seen an amount of that unlike ever before," he says. "It's new ground."

The impact of imports
While pricing is anticipated to stay steady, imports have started to arrive which will possibly bring down pricing or maintain supply. "We're not going to see the supply of our apples run out in the short term," he says, adding that demand is also good in other export regions such as Asia which also relieves the import pressure.

Apples of course is the topic Van Meekeren will be discussing at its booth, #132, at the upcoming CPMA Convention + Trade Show in Vancouver April 23-25. It will have some of its varieties there such as Honeycrisp, Pazazz, and Red Prince but it will also showcase a new apple, the Honeymoon apple. "It's not being sold commercially to many partners but we are doing some work with it already," says Van Meekeren. "We're just hoping that by the end of the show, people haven't eaten them all!"

The Honeymoon is a firm, bright, buttery yellow apple with a deep green accent color. "We didn't want to bring another red apple and we think this offers a color break on the shelf and it does have unique and different eating qualities as well," says Van Meekeren.

For the grower, the show is also on the "other coast" of Canada where it does have some customers. "It's a great chance to connect with them and we're hoping to meet many of our regular retail partners who will be there," says Van Meekeren. "We do look at every CPMA location as a different opportunity to do that for sure."

For more information:
Michael Van Meekeren
Van Meekeren Farms
Tel: +1 (902) 678 2366
[email protected]