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New apple varieties creating marketplace excitement for Giumarra

Giumarra Wenatchee will jazz up its line of commodities imported from New Zealand this season with two limited offerings: the Lemonade and Smitten apple varieties.

Giumarra Cos. is headquartered in Los Angeles, with operations in Wenatchee, WA. The company was created in 1922 and markets a full manifest of apples, pears, kiwifruit and other commodities in the United States.

The Lemonade is a crisp, yellow apple with a slightly tart but effervescent flavor. Giumarra has plans to expand production acreage for the Lemonade in the coming years. Also offered will be the Smitten,apLemonade and Smitten apples. an early bicolored variety hailing from New Zealand. Giumarra marketed a limited volume of this apple last season, and customer response was positive.

In addition to these varieties, Giumarra markets Braeburn, Fuji, Granny Smith, New Zealand Rose, Pink Lady and Royal Gala apples. Asked about weather in New Zealand during apple-production season, Sales Manager Jason Bushong said, “The growing season for the most part was difficult and affected fruit size. He said pollination was good, but cell division was hindered. As a result, he said fruit size will be smaller in 2012. “The U.S. market wants larger sizes.”

Mr. Bushong expects overall volume imported to the United States from New Zealand during 2012 will be approximately half when compared to last season.

Giumarra will import Taylor Gold, Bosc and Comice pears this season. The first shipments were expected to arrive the week of May 7. Mr. Bushong said that overall volume for the United States would be down 20 percent compared to last year. “But we have good quality and sizing,” he noted.

This season, kiwifruit production was affected by Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae, known in the industry as Psa. It is a bacterial canker that affects kiwifruit vines.

“We know the issues New Zealand is having with Psa,” Mr. Bushong said, adding that the disease is primarily affecting Gold kiwifruit volume. He anticipates conventional Green volume imported by Giumarra will be comparable to 2011.

On the citrus side, this is the fifth season Giumarra has imported the Meyer lemon. “We are leaders in the field with this lemon. It’s a real unique lemon,” Mr. Bushong said.

The Meyer lemon is sweeter than its traditional cousin. Its appearance and shape is similar, but the skin has an orange tint.

“Restaurants really like the Meyer lemon,” he said. Because it does not have to be cold treated, Mr. Bushong said that the flavor of this exceptional lemon is preserved. The Meyers lemon is primarily marketed along the West Coast. “That’s customer driven,” he explained.