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Michigan Fresh Marketing and BelleHarvest launch unified sales effort

A consolidated sales effort is being launched this fall in the Michigan apple deal.

The sales desks of Michigan Fresh Marketing LLC, in Comstock Park, MI, and BelleHarvest Sales Inc., in Belding, MI, are for the first time uniting.

Chuck Yow, who is now the director of sales at Michigan Fresh, is leading the coordinated effort. The sales teams, which will operate remotely from one another will, of course, synchronize inventory on a daily and weekly basis. One system will handle billing.

Smitten-treeA Smitten-variety apple on the branch. “The advantage is to sell in a more uniform way to national accounts, develop programs, and have a larger volume,” Yow indicated. More specialty apple varieties can be offered to more customers, as well. The consolidation also brings operational cost efficiency.

Yow became the sales manager for Michigan Fresh Marketing in September 2018. This occurred prior to the firm’s “divorce” from All Fresh Marketing, which was effective Jan. 1, 2019.

After some BelleHarvest sales turnover, Rafferty Fynn is the key salesman for BelleHarvest, Yow indicated.

BelleHarvest brings to the sales union the volume from four packinghouses and Michigan Fresh Marketing brings in fruit from its own packinghouse and Elite Apple Co. LLC in Sparta, MI. Both facilities have been built in recent years.

Beyond Honey Crisp, the sales teams will be offering the specialty varieties of Ever Crisp, Smitten and Topaz.

These are important because “retailers continually want to upgrade their offerings and to expand their variety of value-added products; vs. handling declining mainstays.”

Some retailers are cutting out shelf space for the older varieties, he added. “That depends on the retailer’s strategy. We are definitely-geared to programs and opportunities. You have to be diverse enough to do that.”

The Michigan Fresh/BelleHarvest sales effort will kick off in calendar week 35 with Paulared and Ginger Gold varieties. There will be light supplies before Aug. 25, he noted.

Galas will begin in early September.

Honey Crisp and Fuji varieties will start in week 38.

In week 39, or the week of Sept. 22, Gold Delicious, Red Delicious, Empire, Cortland and Jonathan will first be harvested.

Jonagold will come into the market in week 40.

“Later varieties will begin in October,” Yow said. These are Idared, Topaz, Braeburn and EverCrisp.

This sales effort will serve those needing sliced apples, by offering slicer-sized fruit in bins. “We don’t slice the apples,” Yow emphasized. But the fruit, which largely lands in the foodservice market, is presort for internal and external quality and pressure.

In summary, Yow said, “We’ve built an exciting group of growers and packers who have come together with a sales team. We are excited about the future!”