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Good volume, good demand and good taste are only the start of the characterizations of the 2010-11 apple season for Brett Burdsal, marketing manager for Columbia Marketing International in Wenatchee, WA. "Demand is up, and volume is up from last year," he told The Produce News in mid- December. “Demand is very strong.”

“CMI's crop is up around 10 percent from last year, primarily driven by an increase in organics,” he continued. “With that said, demand is up as well and expected to increase with recent weather in Florida.” CMI markets a full apple manifest, and organics account for 15 percent of the company’s overall apple volume.

The company is now in its fifth year as the exclusive U.S. marketer for the Ambrosia. Volume for the variety is expected to be 300,000 cartons for the 2010-11 season, and predictions are that the volume will continue to grow during the next three years.

“It’s been a real powerhouse for us,” said Mr. Burdsal. “Ambrosia is a real hit for CMI. Consumers know Ambrosia when they come into the store.”

The company is also the exclusive marketer for the Kiku, which was introduced domestically last season. “Volume is definitely up,” said Mr. Burdsal, saying it has increased four-fold in its second marketing season. The apple is a Fuji strain, and three years from now, CMI anticipates volume reaching 600,000 cartons.

A unique Kiku display was designed for a limited number of retailers this season, centered around a new BMW Formula I sled. “A few [of the sleds] will be given away,” Mr. Burdsal commented.

This is also the second marketing season for the Kanzi, another variety for which CMI is the exclusive marketer. The Kanzi is marketed from late January through early February, and several thousand cases will be available this season. “It is great tasting, and volumes continue to grow,” Mr. Burdsal added.