Initial spring projections from New York apple growers called for a solid season of regional varieties with volumes expected to return to the previous three-year average. As picking of early varieties began in mid-September, the crop has shown stronger results than anticipated.
Brett Baker, president of United Apple Sales with orchards and packing facilities in western New York, has seen ideal growing situations in the region.
“This spring we had great weather. The fall's warm days and cool nights have been near perfect for the crop’s increased volume of apples. Sizing of fruit is peaking in preferred retail sizes (100 Ct. – 80 Ct.),” said Baker.
Brett Baker says regional Honeycrisp (right) looks exceptionally strong.
Picking of local favorites such as Cortland and Macs started mid-September and have shown good volume and sizing. Harvest of Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp and Red Delicious are underway with tremendous size, color and flavor. The largest crop of Pink Lady will harvest around November 1. Club varieties (Ruby Frost, Snap Dragon) are harvesting now and EverCrisp is scheduled to harvest the last week of October.
Regional Honeycrisp looks exceptionally strong. Last year, there was good quality and color yet the crop was down overall. This year the crop has rebounded with increased volume and anticipated sizes peaking (88ct. to 72ct.) “New crop, high-color fruit is nearly all in storage now and we anticipate it keeping very well into next year. With the overall strength of this year’s crop and increased storage capabilities, Eastern Honeycrisp will be available for late spring and early summer promotional activities,” said Baker.
United Apple continues to add new varieties and diversified packaging to help retail partners meet changing consumer demands. Club varieties – EverCrisp, Ruby Frost and SnapDragon – are developing a stronger consumer following as they are locally grown with unique flavor profiles.
Club varieties – EverCrisp, Ruby Frost (seen here) and SnapDragon – are developing a stronger consumer following as they are locally grown with unique flavor profiles.
Snap Dragon and EverCrisp are expected to harvest an additional 25 percent this season with better sizing and color. Snap Dragon has multiple promotions slated for October.
“We anticipate a 20 percent increase in production with club varieties as our orchards are in their seventh and eighth year of production,” Baker said.
Since Ruby Frost and EverCrisp are late-season varieties, they help retailers extend the traditional apple season.
Pink Lady continues to be a growth leader in mainline varietals both in sales revenue and volume per year. There has been a 40+ percent lift in sales dollars and a 30+ percent increase in year-over-year results for this variety. Baker indicated that significant acres of Pink Lady are being added to the master plan, with new orchards scheduled for planting in spring 2023 and each following year.