Matthew D’Arrigo, vice president of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc., located at the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Market, told The Produce News that last year’s New York apple deal was “unique.”
“Most growers in the state suffered some serious weather events that shortened the crop by about 50 percent,” D’Arrigo said. “The usual promotions, especially on local apples, were severely limited. Growers pretty much felt like they were in second gear throughout the season.
“Fortunately, this year sounds good to great for them, and we’re really happy to have them back in the market in full swing,” he continued. “I suspect there’s good news in the local apple future for the coming year.”
D’Arrigo added that the company is excited about being able to go back at marketing New York apples at full throttle.
“We sell apples from all areas that are available to us,” he noted. “Apples from everywhere in the country are always represented here at the market. It’s just real nice to have a great crop from our own state in the mix.”
He did acknowledge the price difference on apples from the West compared to the East, however. New York apples, like other eastern apples, have a great freight advantage in the eastern markets, and they have the edge when it comes to filling the high demand for locally grown product today.
“New York producers do have these great advantages,” said D’Arrigo. “I don’t know how far out they spread with their crops, but I know they do well when they have product. But that doesn’t mean that Washington state’s apples are not here — they definitely are.”
He also pointed out an interesting fact: the New York apple deal is the most successful fresh produce deal in the state.“The New York apple deal goes year-round,” he noted. “And the new crop comes in just at the right time as stored apples are running short. We already have the first Jersey Macs from New York, and we’re ready to start with the other varieties.”
He added that the Honeycrisp is, by far, is the most notable newcomer.
“It made a highly successful entre into the marketplace,” D’Arrigo said. “It’s here to stay because of its flavor. Other varieties continue to do well, but the Honeycrisp is a primary focus today.”
He also said that business on the Hunts Point Terminal Market has been good, adding, “We always have a good summer.”