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During the 2010-11 apple season, Borton & Sons Inc., located in Yakima, WA, will be moving product volume similar to last season. “This winter, we are moving all the varieties that we pack,” Account Manager David Whiteside told The Produce News. Movement is good for Red and Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Jonagold, Pink Lady, Cameo, Rome and Honeycrisp.

“This season, we have more Fuji, Gala and Granny Smith in storage than last year,” he went on to say. “But we do have fewer Red Delicious, Pink Lady and Jonagold.”

Although total volume is similar to 2009-10, Mr. Whiteside said, “Movement- wise, our volume shipped is greater than last year.”

Overall apple quality is very good this season. “Apple internal pressures are [mostly] above normal,” he said. “Several varieties such as Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Fuji are producing more lower-grade product due to appearance. But the eating quality is excellent.” Product is sizing in the 88 to 133 range, with few overly large or small apples.

Borton & Sons ships apples to global markets under the “Appletree” and “Sno- Chief” labels. Approximately 60 percent of product is sold to retailers, and the balance is marketed to wholesalers.

On the issue of pricing, Mr. Whiteside said, “Apple pricing for this season on our end has been good, maybe a little better than last year. But we are seeing that some prices are beginning to fall more in line with last year. Retail-wise, my guess is that there is not much difference from last year.”

The company is running a variety of soft-net bag promotions. “We anticipate some special promotions using Granny Smith and Pink Lady over the next few months,” he added.

Mr. Whiteside was asked about marketplace trends. “We are seeing the fresh product market move toward private-label programs,” he replied. “We feel this trend will continue to develop as we have a few retailers we are currently doing private label programs with. We have seen an increase in our sales over the past year in these private label programs.”