Success Ahead: FirstFruits Marketing Prepares for Apple Season
YAKIMA, Wash., August 3, 2016 - FirstFruits Marketing of
Washington is anticipating a great apple season with both overall
volume and apple sizing increasing in all of their crops including
proprietary varieties Opal® and Sweetie™ apples.
FirstFruits represents Broetje Orchards, a leader in Washington
organic apple production and an innovator in new varieties to the
market as well as Congdon Orchards. Thanks to nearly textbook
growing conditions and an early spring bloom, FirstFruits started
harvest at the end of July. This is ahead of normal time frames
seen during past seasons. According to FirstFruits General
Manager Chuck Zeutenhorst, the average fruit size will be slightly
larger this season and the overall state crop is expected to reach
between 135 and 140 million fresh cases.
"It won't be a record-sized crop from Washington, but a large
crop nonetheless," said Zeutenhorst. "We'll need lots of ad support
concentrating on premium grade fruit, 88's and larger."
Organic tonnage at FirstFruits will increase this season by 15
percent, concentrated around the varieties seeing the most consumer
demand including Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Pink Lady
and of course, Opal®.
"Our organic program is our real 'sweet spot' and we've invested
heavily in making that a focal point of our operation," said
Zeutenhorst. "We'll continue to expand our organic production to
meet consumer demand and remain in the forefront of organic farming
practices and varietal development."
Sweetie™, FirstFruits' early exclusive variety, will begin
shipping on September 5. Known as Gala's sweeter, crunchier cousin,
this Braeburn and Royal Gala hybrid is intensely sweet and juicy
with a crunchy texture and is only available for a limited time.
The highly-acclaimed Opal® apple will return to the market
beginning in October. This consumer favorite provides a flavorful
and crunchy eating experience and naturally resists oxidation
making it slow to brown. As the exclusive marketer of the Opal®,
FirstFruits will offer the variety in both organic and conventional
options and expects supplies to last through May 2017.
"We strive for great flavor and consistency in quality in all of
our varieties," said Zeutenhorst. "Consumers demand a variety
of tastes today from their apple eating experience, and the demand
for our unique varieties - like Opal® - continues to grow year
after year. We're excited to deliver that amazing eating experience
FirstFruits is also proud to announce the installation of an
enhanced defect and color sorter at Broetje Orchards. This
new installation is fully operational now and adds an additional
level of color and defect sorting as well as improvements to
consistency in producing an even more uniform carton of apples.
Each sizer lane is now fitted with nine cameras - some near
infrared - to improve both defect detection and clarity of
FirstFruits' apples are supported at retail through
comprehensive marketing plans including point-of-sale materials,
merchandising bins, social media content and produce manager
education. For more information, please contact East Coast Regional
Marketer Dennis Jackson or
West Coast Regional Marketer Tim Corkill. Learn more about
FirstFruits at www.firstfruits.com.
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FirstFruits Marketing of Washington
FirstFruits Marketing is a collaborative apple marketing company
owned by Ralph and Cheryl Broetje. Their growers share a commitment
to producing high quality fruit while balancing the demands of
purpose, people, planet and profit so that a portion of profits can
be donated to non-profit missions supporting the underserved