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Autumn Glory continues to shine for Domex Superfresh Growers

Domex Superfresh Growers is a leading grower and shipper of both conventional and organic apples, offering all major apple varieties including Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith.

It is also the exclusive grower of the Autumn Glory apple, a variety known for having a very sweet, firm flesh with subtle notes of caramel and cinnamon.

“We like to take the watch apart every single day and find a better way of putting it back together, with an emphasis on ‘we.’ That’s our culture,” said Robert Kershaw, chief executive officer of the Yakima, WA-based company. “It’s about striving to be the best and never sitting still, and that starts with those people who make our program possible.”

 MG 5090---fall-bkgDomex Superfresh Growers is the exclusive grower of the Autumn Glory apple.Catherine Gipe-Stewart, communications manager for Domex Superfresh Growers, noted it receives consumer comments via email, phone, and social media regularly, as newer variety apples and those with a higher flavor profile continue to be in demand. This is especially true for the Honeycrisp and Autumn Glory varieties.

“Every year the apple crop is different,” Gipe-Stewart said. “This season, Washington state harvested a potentially record-setting apple crop of 142 million 40-pound boxes. This is good news for retailers, who will be able to promote Washington state apples all year long, and be assured of supply through the summer on practically every variety, to new crop. On the retail front, we continue to see a proliferation of new and improved apple flavors, as with our own apple, Autumn Glory. We feel this is helping to gradually increase overall consumption of apples.”

When it comes to packaging, pouch bags are trending across the produce department and the company tries to make its bags attractive and convenient.

“Superfresh organic pouches offer the premium package that our key consumer is looking for: portable, resealable, and recyclable — all things that resonate with our organic consumers,” Gipe-Stewart said. “Our organic pouch bags are ‘self-merchandising,’ and therefore easy for produce retailers to use. They stand upright, calling attention to themselves with the use of attractive graphics and useful product information. Our pouch bags have a convenient handle and generous clear panels for viewing fruit.”

Since the 2018 crop is expected to have smaller-sized apples, Gipe-Stewart feels that is better for bagged fruit promotions.

“We are seeing conventional apples peak 1-2 sizes smaller than last year and organic apples peak 2-3 sizes smaller than last year,” she said. “The cool temperatures during spring bloom slowed cell division, resulting in smaller fruit for both apples and pears.

While the 5 P’s (product, promotion, price, placement, people) are still fundamental to encouraging apple consumption, Gipe-Stewart said the tactics within are changing.

“In today’s complex retail environment, we work with retailers to connect with consumers in the digital world, stores and even on their front porches (home delivery),” she said. “Our goal is to educate consumers about our products, learn their preferences and ultimately deliver an experience that will lead to repeat purchases.”

Outside of its apples, the company is excited about Two-Bite Cherries, which were launched last year, and it plans to continue building the brand in 2018. The program is currently available in pouch bags and clamshells for both Rainier and Dark Sweet cherry varieties.

Organics are a main focus for Domex Superfresh Growers this crop year and it is expecting large growth in organic pears, cherries and apples, doubling the volume of many organic varieties including Bartlett, Red Bartlett, Bosc, Honeycrisp, Gala, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, and the Autumn Glory.

“To grow with consumer demand, we are investing in higher color, high yield varieties, as well as transitioning many of our older orchards into high density organic orchards,” Kershaw said. “We are also anticipating doubling our organic Rainier crop in 2018.”