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Riveridge looking at a short crop this season

by Tad Thompson | January 03, 2011
The 2010 Michigan apple crop was damaged by frost in its formative stages. The fresh crop volume has been further reduced in packout because of emerging frost damage, according to Don Armock president of Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc. in Sparta, MI.

Mr. Armock, who is also a partner in Riveridge Produce Marketing, described this year's volume as now being "a very, very short crop. We will be done packing and shipping in the first part of April. We generally pack into July and some years, like last year, we pack into the new-year crop. A short crop is difficult, coming from a relatively large crop. We have young production that will ramp up in volume … because of new bearing surface" in 2011, provided the elements cooperate.

Mr. Armock noted that apples grown in the eastern United States have traditionally been “somewhat focused on processing. But in the last 10 or 15 years the focus has been on putting fruit in the fresh market. That is a big transition.”

From a marketing perspective this has been a “very, very good season” because “we started early, with early demand, and continued to have good demand,” he said.

There is “a bit of a change in the industry” because of the demand for fresh- cut apples. Despite increasing fresh market supplies, “the future looks bright for the industry,” which at the same time is producing “a new portfolio of varieties reflecting what consumers seem to be wanting,” Mr. Armock said.