Rochelle Bohm Details CMI Orchards' Apple Insights on the Shifting Market and Season Outlook

Rochelle Bohm Details CMI Orchards' Apple Insights on the Shifting Market and Season Outlook

WENATCHEE, WA - The apple is an icon in many sectors from tech and religion to—you guessed it—the produce department. With the nuances of Mother Nature prevailing above all, Rochelle Bohm, CMI Orchards’ new Vice President of Marketing joins me to touch on the kick-off of Washington State’s new crop harvest, and what we can expect from the apple category’s near future.

Rochelle Bohm, Vice President of Marketing, CMI Orchards“Apples remain a mainstay on the produce shelf, holding a significant share of the available space. Pricing has shifted around a little more this year, as pressure from mounting concerns about a recession and the accompanying rising inflation set in,” Rochelle reveals to me. “Despite these challenges, apple sales remain strong proving the resilience of the apple category and popularity with consumers.”

CMI’s growing region spans central Washington State, with 11 warehouses that pack and store the company’s apples, pears, and cherries harvested throughout its expansive acreage in the Columbia River Valley.

“We partner with select growers worldwide for our import program, bringing in fresh, delicious apples, pears, and cherries from New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina—extending seasonal availability and offering new crop selections on our off-season,” Rochelle shares.

Despite concerns over inflation and shifting apple prices, CMI Orchards explains that the category has remained strong among consumers

With the new crop apple harvest underway, Rochelle reports that quality is outstanding, and volume is on pace with what CMI typically expects at this time of year. On a sizing note, the company is seeing apples peak a little smaller this season due to the cooler spring temperatures and extended days of heat over 100 degrees this summer.

Rochelle does see benefits in the sizing though.

“Small fruit means good news for bag business, and we have some great packaging to merchandize fruit,” she states. “CMI continues to partner with some of the best growing entities in Washington State to build our volume, helping us support year-round programs and fill our boxes with an exceptional quality product for customers to enjoy.”

President Bob Mast brings us right into the orchards and, with harvest underway, CMI is reporting excellent apple quality and volumes that are on pace with this time of year

When I ask Rochelle about any hallmarks of the season or notable benefits and challenges so far, she notes that if CMI is anything (and they are many things), it is resilient and adaptable.

Adversity inspires innovation, and innovation is what CMI does best! We’ve been rolling with the punches over the past two years of the pandemic, learning as much as we can about the current state of the economy, affected market conditions, shopper buying habits, sustainability trends, and new technologies to automate our processes,” she expresses. “Some of the ideas and innovations that have spawned from changes to societal behavior and purchasing habits include establishing ourselves as experts on omnichannel marketing programs; designing programs rooted in sustainability including packaging innovations, and a communication tool, ‘Relax!’ for clear and easy to understand messaging.”

As harvest slowly ramps up and continues for the next three months. Washington State is also reporting a smaller crop outlook. However, at CMI, its volume is increasing due to grower partnerships and acreage acquisition.

CMI Orchards

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CMI Orchards

CMI Orchards is one of Washington State’s largest growers, shippers, and packers of premium quality apples, pears,…