Stemilt Growers' Brianna Shales Talks Apple Crops
WENATCHEE, WA - When I think fruit, the first thing that comes to mind for me is apples. I have no idea why, but maybe it has something to do with my near-daily consumption of apple juice in elementary school. Regardless, I get excited when I hear about apple updates because it means I’m first to know about the goings on of my favorite crunchy spheres. Recently, I got my dose of apple news from Brianna Shales, Communications Manager for Stemilt, who told me all about Fuji apples and where its season is headed.
“The 2018 apple crop is smaller in volume than the year prior, but with great fruit sizing and still plenty of promotion opportunities,” Brianna said. “Fuji is a great variety to focus promotional efforts around. At Stemilt, we’re at the point of the season where we have more Aztec Fuji’s being freshly packed. Aztec is a high color strain of Fuji with great dessert flavors, and this quality is what will drive consumers to purchase this super-sweet apple.”
Brianna explained to me that bulk promotion is where the focus should be with Fuji and other apple varieties, whether promoting conventional, organic, or both. The most recent crop has brought larger sized apples and more opportunities for retailers to upsize and promote bulk in a bigger way than the previous crop year. The company also has advice when it comes to retail promotion.
“The key with any apple promotion is that even if you want to highlight Fuji, you should bring multiple varieties into an ad at one time,” said Brianna. “This lifts the entire category. Retailers can also promote Fuji apples in bags right now. Packs like our 5 pound Apple Lover pouch bags help drive up purchase sizes and volumes of apples sold.”
With a 30-year-old organics program, Stemilt has positioned itself well, producing both organic and conventional apples. The company’s organic apples are marketed under the Artisan Organics™ label. In addition to organic Fuji apples, the company also grows organic varieties of top apples like Honeycrisp, Gala, and Piñata. An organic-focused ad with several high-flavor apple varieties is a great way to win over shoppers.
Though the days of fall apple picking are long gone, it is comforting to know that the changing of the seasons doesn’t mean the end of quality apples.
“The best Fuji’s are yet to come with the Aztec strain. Retailers have a lot of great fruit coming their way, which will make for great spring and summer apple sales,” concluded Brianna.
For more fruit and vegetable crop updates, keep reading AndNowUKnow.