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CMI braces to fill empty pipeline

With Washington apple supplies from the 2010-11 crop year all but exhausted, Columbia Marketing International is ready to fill the void. Vice President of Marketing Bob Mast said that the company, based in Wenatchee, WA, is seeing good growth with its mainline offerings and increased market movement for newer apple varieties this season.

“Growing conditions have really been optimal,” he said Sept. 6. “The trees haven’t been heat stressed. Everyone’s excited about the quality this year.”

Although weather delayed this season’s harvest, Gala and Ginger Gold production are ramping up. Mr. Mast said he anticipates good packouts for Gala, Ginger Gold and Golden Delicious. “There’s no flecking on Fujis,” he added. Weather has been excellent for Honeycrisp, a variety that likes cooler temperatures.

Production for newer varietals increased this season. “Volume continues to increase significantly on Ambrosia this year,” he stated. “We are in a three-year growth pattern.” This season, CMI will produce 400,000 boxes of the apple. Volume will nearly double to 700,000 boxes in three years.

“That apple continues to be a huge favorite among consumers,” Mr. Mast stated. “They love the wow factor.”

This is the fourth season CMI has marketed the Kiku, and the volume continues to increase to meet marketplace demand. The Kanzi variety is now in its second full season of promotion. Though the apple is less sweet, it packs a full flavor profile. “We were very surprised at the positive American feedback,” Mr. Mast commented.

CMI continues to expand its “Daisy Girl” organic line.