With record-breaking volumes of Jazz apples coming off the trees this
season, Enza and Oppenheimer are sharing the abundance.
Washington Jazz volume is forecasted to grow over 30 percent in a single
year, prompting the variety's owner, Enza, to invite Rainier Fruit Co. in Selah,
WA, into a sub-agency marketing arrangement with Vancouver, BC-based
The Oppenheimer Group.
"Rainier and Oppenheimer will collaboratively present Washington Jazz apples
to the North American customer base," David Nelley, Oppenheimer’s apple
and pear category director, said in a Nov. 23 press release. “The same range
of fruit sizes and pack styles are available from either group,”
Rainier’s vice president of sales and marketing, Randy Abhold, expressed
enthusiasm in the release about the venture, pointing to the apple’s
impressive track record in recent years. “We at Rainier Fruit Co. are very
flattered and excited to be asked to participate in the sales and marketing of
the Jazz apple with Oppenheimer. We have watched its growth and heard from
our customers about how well this apple has been received by the consumer,
and we believe this collaboration will further its growth in the category.”
Mr. Nelley concurred that the popularity of the Jazz apple is on the rise
domestically as well as globally, so the uptick in volume is welcome.
“Export demand at this time of year is fivefold what it was in 2009,” he said in
the release. “We’re excited about the international opportunities, as well as
the enthusiasm we see closer to home. After a relatively short time on the
market, Jazz has risen to a top-10 variety with many North American retailers.
Various marketing tactics, from branded sampling events to social media
outreach are making a difference, but in the end, the crunch and flavor of
Jazz have driven the growth.”
Mr. Nelley noted in the release that it makes sense at this point to streamline
logistics with Rainer, “which will help the market absorb this year’s large
increase in Washington Jazz volume.” He pointed out that the two companies
have a solid track record of operational collaboration.
The fruit began shipping in volume Nov. 1, and in addition to a larger supply,
larger-than-usual sizes are anticipated.
“It was an unusually cold and damp bloom period for Washington apple
growers,” Mr. Nelley said in the release. “But in the damper, almost New
Zealand-like conditions, the Jazz has thrived size-wise, with many orchards
reporting increased fruit size. The Jazz had an early bloom, and we were lucky
to have a small window of several fine days, which really helped. We’re
anticipating even better-tasting fruit as the Jazz trees in Washington mature
and produce an even more-consistent flavor over the crop.”
Jazz trees naturally produce plentiful 88s through 113s, creating
opportunities for multiple SKUs, according to Mr. Nelley. “We are bringing
back the three- and four-pound 'Snacker’ packs of kids-sized apples in
mesh and poly bags, as well as loose,” he said in the release. “This concept
enables our customers to give their shoppers more Jazz options.”
Washington-grown Enza Pacific Rose and Envy apples — as well as all New
Zealand Enza varieties, including Jazz — will continue to be available from
Oppenheimer exclusively, while Rainier will ship its full range of Washington
varieties including Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Braeburn,
Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Cameo, Jonagold, Lady Alice, Junami and