Applewood Fresh Growers' Scott Swindeman, Brian Coates, and Antonia Mascari Discuss Michigan Apple Harvest
SPARTA, MI - There’s no time like the present to promote apples, especially with Applewood Fresh Growers’ Michigan harvest in full swing! During the winter months, Applewood states that the produce aisle is full of opportunities to promote Michigan- and New York-grown apples. Place core varieties prominently across the store or turn to emerging varieties such as EverCrisp®, Kanzi®, KIKU®, SnapDragon, and RubyFrost, which appeal to a wide range of consumers.
“While the 2021 Michigan crop overall is smaller, especially Honeycrisp, one of the top volume apples in the category, our orchards in Southeast Michigan produced a large crop. Helping to provide Applewood Fresh with a good volume of other core Michigan varieties including Gala, Fuji, and Red Delicious. Retailers can continue to promote these legacy varieties to drive sales in the apple category and capture the healthy eating trend at this time of the year and promote throughout the spring months as well,” said Scott Swindeman, President.
Applewood touts Michigan as a key ingredient in the growing process, as the state’s glacial soil and the Great Lakes’ climate are ideal for apple orchards.
“Our flavorful harvest of Michigan-grown emerging varieties: Rave, SweeTango, KIKU, Kanzi, EverCrisp, along with the addition of being able to market New York-grown SnapDragon and RubyFrost, are all valuable contributors to the emerging varieties of apples that are focused on delivering outstanding flavor and quality to drive sales growth in the apple category,” said Brian Coates, Vice President of Sales and Business Development. “These premium varieties offer a great opportunity to trade customers up to a higher retail to increase sales in the apple category.”
Swindeman also added that as it looks to next year, the grower expects an even better crop to take to retail.
“We look forward to a larger fall crop in 2022. Typically, after a year with decreased production, the trees bounce back with a larger crop the next season. Time will tell how mother nature treats us during the bloom period, and throughout the summer,” he said.
Coates continued by stating that Michigan also provides benefits in terms of logistics, which, as we know, has been a challenge for many in the past couple of years.
“Michigan provides a freight advantage for many Midwest customers over Western fruit. We have plenty of bag fruit available to ship, and this year our size profile is larger, so we can also provide the larger tray pack fruit to our customers,” said Coates. He continued, adding that sustainability is another benefit of Michigan-grown fruit. “Our location is considered locally grown for many Midwest customers. We can provide less food miles and fresher product with our location to many customers in Midwest and southern regions of the country.”
Antonia Mascari, Vice President of Marketing, offered her insights on apple promotions in a recent press release.
“Besides supporting retailers with many custom marketing programs to help drive sales at store level. We also support them through, continuing to help consumers with eating healthier meals and snacks at home, by teaming up with The Produce Moms® to create fresh and creative apple content,” she said.
Multiple new e-books, live Facebook and TV segments, digital display ads, blogs, social posts, infographics, kid activities and lesson plans, and much more are available to Applewood Fresh retailers to help them capitalize on the winter harvest sales opportunities. The Apple, Wine, and Cheese Pairing Guide from Applewood Fresh was released recently as well and is all about its Michigan-grown apples: both proprietary and legacy varieties.
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