FirstFruits Farms Discusses Opal® Apple Growth; Chuck Zeutenhorst and Jim Hazen Share
YAKIMA, WA - Not too long ago, the team at FirstFruits Farms walked us through the provider’s top-quality portfolio and flexed its strengths in variety differentiation. Now the company is pointing to the cornerstone of its new variety base, a beloved apple originating out of the Czech Republic: the Opal® apple.
“The Opal apple, number one, has a golden-yellow appearance. We know after all the years that we’ve had it, that when it reaches that color point, it’s what creates its best taste profile,” shares Chuck Zeutenhorst, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “One of the very unique characteristics is its condition. It’s a very hard apple, and it maintains that condition for a very long period of time, which we love. It is a non-GMO apple, and we have registered it as such. It’s a naturally occurring variety, and the apple also doesn’t brown, which just adds to its overall great characteristics.”
As an 8,000-acre apple and cherry grower, packer, and shipper, in the mid-Columbia region of Washington State, FirstFruits Farms has developed the expertise needed to continue bringing this premium variety to market each season.
“I guess the one thing you can say when you take on a new proprietary apple is that it’s a huge learning curve,” notes Jim Hazen, President. “Despite the learning curve, we’ve perfected the growing of the Opal. We understand the maturity. We understand just the right stage to harvest the Opal for maximum flavor and for maximum storage life. Now, we are the exclusive growers of Opal apple in North America. We feel like it certainly gives us an edge in the marketplace to be able to deliver Opal 10 months out of the year.”
This is one advantage that definitely pays off for FirstFruits Farms, as the demand for Opal apples remains strong among consumers.
“One of the best stories associated with Opal is the consumer demand for it,” Jim adds. “There’s really an Opal fan base, and we’re looking forward to growing that fan base, and providing them with the best eating apple out there.”
Find out more by watching our exclusive video above!