HORT SHOW DAY 2: AFTERNOON WRAP

A panel of growers shared their experiences managing crop load during today’s afternoon session at the Washington State Tree Fruit Association annual meeting.

Everything is based on having a bloom target, Washington State University researcher Matt Whiting said in opening the session.

Washington Fruit and Produce determines trunk cross sectional area to determine crop load in years one through six in an orchard, to ensure a young block isn’t overcropped, slowing growth, Andrew Del Rosario said. Mike Robinson of BMR Orchards said he follows a similar path, though more informally, without advanced spreadsheets to track all of the findings. “How do you get a consistent crop? Part of it is getting pruning right and having a plan,” he said.

Brent Huck of Stemilt noted growers must first make sure the tree is balanced, with competition limbs, otherwise the numbers will be skewed.

WSU’s Vince Jones reminded growers about models available under the Decision Aid System, including additional flower phenology data—three cultivars already with five more in progress, such as the new WSU-bred apple variety WA 38, to be sold under the name Cosmic Crisp. Honeybee foraging models are also available, as well as models for sunburn browning, storage scald and various diseases and pests.

Article by Shannon Dininny, Good Fruit Grower

Varieties and Cosmic Crisp: Day 1, Hort Show afternoon wrap

Variety talks highlight afternoon at annual meeting

Specialized varieties, specifically Cosmic Crisp, headlined the discussion during the afternoon session of the Hort show, the Washington State Tree Fruit Association’s annual meeting in Kennewick.

Lynnell Brandt and his son Kevin, both representatives of Proprietary Variety Management, told growers that nurseries will have 5.8 million trees of Cosmic Crisp apples ready for planting in 2018, with 5.2 million to follow in 2019.

Washington State University, which bred Cosmic Crisp, the brand name for the WA 38 cultivar, contracted Proprietary Variety Management of Yakima, Washington, to manage the commercial rollout of the new variety.

Lynnell Brandt, president of PVM, told growers that branded produce is becoming a bigger factor in the market. Currently, 38 percent of produce is branded, a share that’s growing.

Industry leaders expect other apples, perhaps Galas and even Honeycrisps, to make way for branded apples such as Cosmic Crisp, but they urged growers to pick and deliver only first-rate fruit to attract return buyers.

“It’s going to take discipline,” said Chris Willett of T&G Global, the New Zealand company that owns the Enza apple brands Pacific Rose, Jazz and Envy.

Willett and Bruce Turner, a market representative for Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, both suggested the state set aside a lot of money for marketing to make sure shoppers know about the Cosmic Crisp when it hits store shelves in 2019 and 2020. The first commercial orchards were planted in 2017.

The Hort show continues Tuesday and Wednesday with research news flashes, Spanish sessions, horticultural topics, technology and industry awards.

Article by Ross Courtney, Good Fruit Grower

The Next Big Apple Variety Was Bred for Deliciousness in Washington

Created at Washington State University, the Cosmic Crisp is growing beyond Cougar country.

Washington state is widely known as one of the best places in the world to grow apples, but it isn’t particularly well known for breeding them — a fact that bothered growers like Robert Kershaw and scientists like Bruce Barritt in the 1990s.

“When I got out of college, I was absolutely shocked that our industry was Reds and Goldens and that any new variety seemed to come from some other country,” says Kershaw, whose family started growing pears and apples in Yakima in the 1900s. “All the cool stuff was coming from somewhere else.”

Washington’s most successful apple, the Red Delicious, was developed in Iowa. The Golden Delicious got its start in West Virginia, the Gala in New Zealand and the Granny Smith in Australia. The Fuji was bred in Japan and the hugely popular — and expensive — Honeycrisp was created in Minnesota (and became Minnesota’s official state fruit in 2006).

Growers know it can take 20 to 30 years to breed and select a new variety viable enough for commercialization. And in the 1990s, the state’s reliance on the Red Delicious — notorious for looking appetizing even when it turns mealy from long storage — was leading the industry into a tailspin. It ultimately would cause some growers, packers and other industry players to go out of business.

Horticulturalist Barritt also thought the state’s popular varieties were obsolete and was already lobbying Washington State University (WSU) and the industry to fund an apple breeding program, which eventually began in 1994. Barritt’s quest for better commercial apples has resulted in what growers and industry players believe will replace the aging Red Delicious and the grass-roots consumer favorite, the Honeycrisp. 

The new apple, a variety named WA 38 by researchers and branded the Cosmic Crisp for marketing purposes, is leading WSU into uncharted territory. The university and its Yakima-based commercialization partner, Proprietary Variety Management (PVM), are trying to refine a new industry economic model being used for “premium” apple varieties. The model replaces the old “push” system, in which everyone involved — breeder, nursery operator, grower, packer, marketer and retailer — pushed varieties such as red delicious that were less prone to bruising, could be stored for a year, had a long shelf life, were easy to grow and weren’t susceptible to disease. The new “pull” approach is designed to get the customer involved earlier in the process via consumer research and feedback. Think taste tests and focus groups. Not surprisingly, consumers want varietes that are red, juicy, crunchy, taste good and don’t turn brown quickly. 

“The consumer has the money. We want the money. So, we have to find out what they want in order to get the money. It’s as simple as that,” argues PVM President Lynnell Brandt. Cosmic Crisp, it turns out, meets the criteria set out by both growers and consumers. 

WSU and PVM are launching Cosmic Crisp at a time when more than 20 other varieties with premium aspirations are hitting the market. Even so, grower enthusiasm for Cosmic Crisp is so strong that the apple’s launch will be the biggest ever. If all goes well, it will be the state’s — and WSU’s — first commercially successful home-bred apple.

Bred by WSU’s Barritt, now retired, and his successor, Professor Kate Evans, the Cosmic Crisp is a dark burgundy-red apple with star-like flecks, or lenticels, that helped give the apple its name. It’s a cross between the Enterprise and the Honeycrisp. Earlier this year, 35 growers in Washington — the only ones allowed to grow Cosmic Crisp — planted an unprecedented number of the new trees, about 630,000 in all.

Demand for the new variety was so great that WSU and PVM held a random, computer-generated lottery in 2014 to award the first trees because there weren’t enough for every Washington grower who wanted in on the action. An additional 5.5 million trees have been ordered for 2018 by many of the 445 applicants who failed to win the initial lottery; 5.5 million more trees are expected to be planted in 2019.

At 11.6 million trees in a mere three years, the number of Cosmic Crisp trees planted and ordered exceeds the total number of trees currently in production in Michigan, the country’s third-largest apple-producing state, which boasts 11 million trees.

It also represents the fastest ramp-up of any variety — and it has some people worried. Nearly 12 million trees are 10 times the typical amount planted at this stage of development, and it is occurring in just three years, not the 20 years it took the last consumer favorite, the Honeycrisp, to reach such volume. 

Cosmic Crisp growers are ripping out old, less profitable varieties, often upgrading by planting more intensively with dwarfing rootstock, “V” or upright trellises, and planting 1,200 to 1,800 trees per acre. Typically, there are 110 to 120 very large trees per acre in older Red or Golden Delicious orchards.

Growers are upgrading hundreds of acres at a cost of some $35,000 per acre, more than $60,000 if they are buying new land. But because the Cosmic Crisp is bred for dense planting, fewer than 1,500 acres can accommodate 2 million trees. The cost to Washington growers is estimated at $40 million.

So, why are apple growers willing to make this multimillion-dollar bet?

“A number of things are coming together at the same time to make it very exciting and intriguing,” says PVM’s Brandt, who also runs Brandt’s Fruit Trees in Yakima. “[Cosmic Crisp] was bred here for our conditions and it is a ‘wow’ apple. It really has exceptional eating quality, exceptional storage, exceptional shelf life and it doesn’t have much, if any, oxidation.”

Because it is slow to brown, the Cosmic Crisp doesn’t need to be kept in low-oxygen storage It also is hardier than the Honeycrisp, which can succumb to rot and mildew in the field — it’s not uncommon for half of a Honeycrisp crop to be left in the orchard — and to punctures and bruising in the packing house. 

“It’s the right thing for the right time,” Brandt waxes on about Cosmic Crisp. “The industry is recognizing their flagship Red Delicious is declining in popularity and reputation, and there is need to find a superior flagship. The hope is that this selection can be that apple.”

Brandt and other growers won’t know how consumers will react to the apple until 2019 or, more likely, 2020. Limited amounts of Cosmic Crisp will officially hit a small number of supermarkets in 2019, when Brandt’s computer models expect the young trees to bear their first fruit and to produce about 170,000 40-pound boxes.

Typically, a single grower, or maybe a handful, will bet on a new variety, and it takes 10 years or more to get a million trees planted. That volume can produce enough apples to fulfill regional orders; more trees are then needed to fill national demand. Year-round distribution requires an even larger volume of apples and trees. And that’s what Washington growers are shooting for.

“It’s the first time we’ve seen a variety that has to be an instant hit because there’s so much production going in on the front end,” says Kaari Stannard, owner and president of New York Apple Sales in Glenmont, New York, and secretary of the U.S. Apple Association.

“There’s no gentle curve leading up to it.”

Smaller apple-producing states simply can’t come up with that volume, she says. Washington state has about 165,000 bearing acres of apples and produces 65 to 70 percent of the nation’s supply. That’s more than twice the combined total of bearing acres in New York, the second-largest apple-producing state, and Michigan, according to 2016 USDA figures.

“We’re just waiting to see what kind of standards they set and how they plan to bring it to market,” Stannard says. “It’s going to be a very interesting story.”

Growers are betting the Cosmic Crisp will command a premium price, much like the Honeycrisp, which changed the economics of the commercial apple industry. Bred at the University of Minnesota, the Honeycrisp was the first widely accepted, patented, premium-priced apple. It fetches an average of $3.49 a pound in stores today and still brings to growers $50 to $60 per box. 

. . .

The marketing of Cosmic Crisp falls to an advisory committee headed up by Kershaw, who was drafted after he gave WSU and PVM an earful about the bungled WA 2 launch.

“I thought I offended them so badly that they’d never talk to me again,” Kershaw says. “But two days later, they called me and said, ‘We liked all your ideas. We’re going with them and want you to be chairman of the marketing committee.’

“I thought the Cosmic Crisp would ramp up moderately,” he adds. “I didn’t expect everyone to decide to plant 10 million trees. We’ve gone from a variety you couldn’t launch to one that’s almost launching so fast that it’s scary.”

Kathryn Grandy, who leads marketing for PVM, says the promotional budget for Cosmic Crisp and its official funding source have yet to be determined. No doubt the budget will need to be in the multiple millions. At the height of its national promotion of fresh apples in 2000, the Washington Apple Commission spent $8 million to market Washington-grown apples. Today, the organization only handles international sales.

In an unprecedented display of cooperation, 13 marketing groups in Washington are setting aside their rivalry to work together to market Cosmic Crisp and advise PVM. They have already agreed to leave their own packing-house names out of any advertising and plan to use Washington Apple as secondary branding.

Of course, some are skeptical that individual competitors can work together. The Cosmic Crisp committee members “already have their own varieties and built-in incentives to push their own premium varieties with retailers,” says O’Rourke. “It’s going to be a weakness of the Cosmic Crisp. Stemilt [Growers] has SweeTango, CMI and Ambrosia, and Oppenheimer [Group] has a huge incentive to promote Jazz and Envy. And those are the folks on the Cosmic Crisp marketing committee.”

Kershaw counters: “There are just five marketing teams that do 80 percent or more of the state’s apple marketing, so it’s easy to talk strategy versus 30 years ago, when the Washington Apple Commission was promoting and there were 60 or 70 marketers. We’ve always been competitors, but we’re currently working together on this project, and it’s going pretty well so far.”

The industry is still a few years away from knowing if America will warm to this large, juicy apple with a remarkably firm and crisp texture. But Kershaw, whose family has been growing apples for five generations, sees both economic promise and a measure of bragging rights at the core of Cosmic Crisp’s gestation. 

“If we’re successful and the royalty dollars come back to the industry and the research department,” he muses, “maybe my grandkids will be able to say they get all the best varieties from Washington research and breeding programs.”

Article by M. Sharon Baker, Seattle Business Magazine

Cosmic Crisp, An Apple for Washington Growers

Dan Plath, of Washington Fruit, one of the state’s larger fruit companies, asked Swanson to address questions about the continuing demand for Honeycrisp and organic apples and what the industry can expect in the rollout of the Cosmic Crisp, the new Washington State University variety expected to hit store shelves in 2020.

Swanson said the price for Honeycrisps — he calls them Moneycrisps — may fall if production keeps going up, but a 15 percent price drop in exchange for selling 200 percent more may be worth it.

And while shoppers may not be willing to eat more, the Honeycrisp story proves they are willing to spend more. They keep asking for higher quality and exclusivity.

Among fruits, strawberries have been gaining plate share at the most rapid rate, Swanson said, and berry giant Driscoll’s controls more than 90 percent of the genetics in producing better strawberries. Apple cultivar developers are more scattered, often at land grant colleges, and can’t move as quickly.

However, that only gives apples a better chance to tell a story and market their fruit much like wine. Thus, growers must gamble on new varieties, including Cosmic Crisp, he said.

“Cosmic Crisp is almost a mandatory industry development,” he said.

Cosmic Crisp is the brand name for WA 38, a variety developed by WSU’s breeding program specifically for Washington growers — suited for the climate and storage infrastructure of the nation’s top apple producing state. The industry has invested nearly $500 million in ramping up production and marketing.

Article by Ross Courtney, Good Fruit Grower

Cosmic Crisp To Be The New "IT" Apple

Which will make for healthier apples -- old favorites, and new kinds, like the highly anticipated one being developed in Washington State. Grower Scott McDougall is betting the orchard that the Cosmic Crisp will be the new "It" apple when it rolls out in 2019.

"There's so much excitement over it that, literally, there will be 12 million to 13 million trees planted within the next three to four years," he said. 

With its sparkling, rosy cheeks, the Cosmic Crisp is pomological royalty, descended from the beloved Honey Crisp, and the result of more than 20 years of breeding at Washington State University's Tree Fruit Research Center, where scientists test for firmness, juiciness, and taste.

Article by CBS News

'Washington Grower' features Cosmic Crisp on TV

An episode of TV’s "Washington Grown" series featuring Washington apples is scheduled to air this weekend.

The Washington Apple Commission, with the help of production company North By Northwest, created segments for the show, according to a news release.

"Washington Grown" showcases agricultural products from the state and shows “behind the scenes” footage of growing and production, the release said, as well as visits to local restaurants. The show is in its fifth season.

The episode includes a visit to Legacy Orchard and an explanation of the pollination process, according to a news release.

It will also feature a talk with Cosmic Crisp apple variety breeder Bruce Barritt and a history lesson with a visit to the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center.

The show ends with a visit to the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival, with an interview with the Apple Blossom queen.

The episode airs 5 p.m. Pacific Saturday on KIMA, 2:30 p.m. Sunday on KOMO4 and 7 p.m. Sunday streaming live from "Washington Grown’s" Facebook page.

On Oct. 23, the video will be available on YouTube.

Article by Jessica MacCallum, The Packer

Washington apple harvest half-way finished

Autumn has finally arrived in Eastern Washington, bringing with it the cool nights that create the spectacular apples that Washington is known for. Dave Gleason, Chief Horticulturist, boasts about Washington’s weather, with 300 days of sunshine, an arid climate, and less than seven inches of annual rain in the Central Washington.

Cosmic Crisp replaces Gala

As the seasons change, Superfresh Growers® transitions older orchard blocks to new varieties. Superfresh Growers is currently tearing out an older Gala orchard, and replacing it with a high density Cosmic Crisp orchard. “We know the science of growing the best quality fruit, now we are moving to efficiency with high density orchards,” explains Gleason. This process includes turning over the soil and adding compost, enhancing soil conditions. The new high-density orchard will be designed with a trellis system with technology in mind: both platforms, which are currently used, and robotic systems of the (not so distant) future. 

360 million apples picked per day

Parker Sherrell, Pre-Production Manager, and newest member to the Superfresh farm team, joins Gleason to discuss how massive the Washington State apple harvest is. On a peak harvest day in Washington State there are roughly 30,000 pickers, each picking an average of six 850 pound apple bins. Sherrell shares that this equates to 360 million apples, which is enough apples to create a continuous line from Seattle to Shanghai, back to Seattle, and back to Shanghai. In other words, Washington State harvests about 17,000 miles of apples a day. 

“We are about 50 percent done with apple harvest in Washington. It takes an incredible amount of hard work to get these apples off. We are so grateful to have the people we do have helping us. There is a lot of work that remains, and everyone is in positive spirits,” said Sherrell. 

Cooler spring weather manifested smaller than normal apples. Apples are peaking three to four sizes smaller than last year, making this an excellent year to promote bagged fruit. Superfresh Growers has a full line of organic and conventional pouch bags ready to support retailers this season, as well as mesh, poly, and tote bag options. 

Gala harvest has concluded

Superfresh Growers is half-way finished with harvest. Galas have concluded, and the Superfresh team is moving on to Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, Pink Lady® and Autumn Glory® apples. Autumn Glory harvest will double in volume this year, providing a crop that will continue to build its national presence.

Article by Pamela Riemenschneider, Produce Retailer

Growers get latest Cosmic Crisp horticultural tips

Stefano Mussachi, WSU tree fruit physiologist, shows growers a Cosmic Crisp apple tree in spindle tree style at the WSU Sunrise Research Orchard near Rock Island, Wash., in spring of 2016. Growers are keen on learning horticultural aspects of what the industry hopes will be a great new variety. (Photo by Dan Wheat, Capital Press).

Stefano Mussachi, WSU tree fruit physiologist, shows growers a Cosmic Crisp apple tree in spindle tree style at the WSU Sunrise Research Orchard near Rock Island, Wash., in spring of 2016. Growers are keen on learning horticultural aspects of what the industry hopes will be a great new variety. (Photo by Dan Wheat, Capital Press).

Washington State University tree fruit researchers shared their latest perspectives on how to grow the new Cosmic Crisp apple variety with growers at a recent field day south of Wenatchee.

ROCK ISLAND, Wash. — Mechanical pruning works well on Cosmic Crisp apple trees by the fourth year and cutting the tips of one-year old limbs controls growth better than limb bending.

Those were main points growers learned at a Washington State University field day at Sunrise Research Orchard south of Rock Island, Sept. 27.

Cosmic Crisp is the new WSU-bred apple tree the industry is starting to plant in a big way with plans for the first apples to hit grocery stores in the fall of 2019 and quickly ramp up thereafter.

Promoters say cosmic Crisp is a great eating apple with great flavor and good crispness and firmness that consumers will love more than Honeycrisp, one of its parents. It stores well without storage disorders such as water core, internal browning and superficial scald that hampers other varieties.

Perhaps it’s only negative is vigorous growth causing too much spacing between fruit, called blind wood, resulting in fruit on outer edges rather than closer to tree trunks where desired.

Stefano Musacchi, WSU tree fruit physiologist, “now believes that’s better controlled by cutting the tips of one-year-old limbs and cutting tips in subsequent years rather than by bending limbs down,” said Karen Lewis, WSU Extension tree fruit specialist. Musacchi calls it click pruning. Bending limbs down actually creates more blind wood, according to a tip sheet the scientists wrote for growers.

Apple trees produce the plant growth regulator auxin in their stems and shoot tips inhibiting bud formation. Cutting limb tips or girdling or notching every foot of a trunk on two-year-old trees interrupts auxin flow allowing more buds to form where desired.

The tip sheet gave equal credence to spindle and biaxial (two trunks off a one) tree structure for good fruit coloring and automation and mechanization of pruning and harvest while European V is more problematic for mechanized pruning and harvest.

“At the end of the day, Cosmic Crisp responds well whether vertical or angle (V),” Lewis said. “Growers need to put the math to it (what’s profitable) and their ability. They’ll do what they know.”

Musacchi is now experimenting with a fourth tree structure, what he calls top grafting which is grafting Cosmic Crisp onto stumps of other varieties above their rootstocks to develop three trunks, she said.

Lewis has focused a lot on mechanical pruning, also called hedging. Mechanical pruning in June eliminates blind wood by producing buds closer to stems and produces higher quality fruit, she said.

“We’ve also noticed that in the first couple of years when hedging the tree responds vigorously (more growth), but in the fourth year it settles down and gives you the tight narrow canopy you’re looking for,” she said. But it can result in smaller fruit which is something to consider, she said.

Article by Dan Wheat, Capital Press

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New apple brand developed at WSU to be available in 2019

PULLMAN, Wash. – Move over Granny Smith and Golden Delicious, there is a new apple in town.

The Cosmic Crisp apple is expected to be available for consumers by 2019.

This new brand of apple is a cross between Enterprise and Honeycrisp created by Washington State University’s Tree fruit breeding program.

According to WSU, the fruit has a rich red-purple color over a green-yellow background and is speckled with little spots. WSU tree fruit experts said the apples will flavor profile will provide ample sweetness and tartness.

WSU made 300,000 trees available to growers this year. The growers were chosen through a drawing, according to WSU. Other growers will be able to buy trees from Washington State fruit tree nurseries for delivery in 2018 and 2019.

Article by Krem 2 News

Red delicious on the decline

WENATCHEE, Wash. — Red delicious will soon lose its status as the volume leader in the Washington apple industry.

The variety will comprise 25% of the 2017-18 crop, down about 5% from recent years, according to an estimate by the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, and numerous grower-shippers said they continue to move away from the classic apple.

Gala, estimated to account for 23% of the new crop, is on track to surpass red delicious this season or next.

“The popularity of reds has declined because we’re growing all these new varieties and they’re better-tasting,” said Randy Steensma, president of Honey Bear Fruit Co. “They don’t look as good as a red ... but these other apples have better eating characteristics.”

Alternatively, companies have been planting proprietary varieties or improved versions of varieties such as gala, fuji and Honeycrisp.

Many are also investing in growing Cosmic Crisp, an apple developed by the Washington State University breeding program.

More than 600,000 trees were planted this year, and about 5.5 million more will go in the ground next year.

“A number of our growers have been looking for a variety that will come into their harvest portfolio and take the same time slot as red delicious, which they’re trying to phase out a little, and this apple picks at about the same time as reds,” said Kate Evans, associate professor with the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center.

“My impression has been that a number of growers have sort of jumped on it really because it fits that harvest window for them,” Evans said.

Bill Knight, domestic sales manager for Northern Fruit Co., said the company is growing fewer reds even though it ships much of its fruit to markets where the variety is still desirable.

“That’s kept the red thing alive for us longer than maybe some other people,” Knight said. “We export a lot to China and Asia ... and those people fortunately still like to eat reds, so we’re still maybe a little heavier there than some people, but we’re slowly slimming down.”

Meeting consumer demand for better varieties has prompted the shift away from reds, but a parallel motivator has been the profit available.

“Where the grower’s not getting very much in terms of dollar per box, it becomes a very fine line as to whether the grower’s actually making any money from growing that variety anymore,” Evans said. “That’s a huge impact in terms of the grower decision.

“If there’s still a market for it, then they’ll grow it, if they can get a decent return,” Evans said. “It costs the grower considerably to change varieties, so they’re not going to make those decisions lightly.”

Article by Ashley Nickle, The Packer

All Eyes on Washington

New apple varieties are expected to offer exceptional flavor and heightened consumer appeal.

Every year consumers eagerly await the arrival of a new crop of Washington apples. The latest developments in apple varieties are given a kick-start on promotions in the early fall when Washington state begins harvesting. Indeed, it seems the future trends for new varieties to out west.

"Consumers are initially attracted to their bright, bold coloring and unique names," says Chuck Sinks, president of sales and marketing for Sage Fruit Company in Yakima, WA. "But what keeps them coming back in their appreciation for a sweet, juicy, and crunchy apple."

In fact, what also keeps apple lovers coming back is a combination of great fruit, abundant variety, and savvy marketing and merchandising. Maintaining that formula remains key to continued strong sales.

Varieties

The large number and superior quality of Washington varieties are sure to keep sales brisk.

"Our packers are developing proprietary varieties (PVs) at break-neck speeds," says Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission in in Wenatchee, WA. "But for the industry, Cosmic Crisp is the next big thing for all Washington apple growers' Honeycrisp continues expansion as well."

Article by Howard Riell, Produce Business

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Since 1972, Blind Renaissance has an extensive history of creating the strong visual identity and cohesive media presence demanded by the sophistication of marketing environments. We design engaging, client-specific promotional materials by combining an educated artistic sensibility, knowledge of advertising trends in multiple industries and the ability to appropriately utilize new design, web and printing technology.

What to look forward to at Asia Fruit Logistica

Tomorrow sees the start of Asia Fruit Logistica, running 6-8 September in Hong Kong. It will take place at the AsiaWorld-Expo, where sales of exhibition space are up by 25 per cent on last year’s total. This year for the first time the exhibition will be held over two different halls.

There has been a big increase in the number of Chinese exhibitors this time around: according to the organisers by as much as 90 per cent compared with last year. 

Beijing-based fresh produce e-commerce company, MissFresh, is one of the new Chinese exhibitors at this year’s show. MissFresh has set up a cold chain logistics system to deliver fresh food to consumers’ doors within two hours as speed of delivery and high quality are paramount

“We’ll be showcasing our pre-warehouse model at Asia Fruit Logistica,” explains MissFresh head of marketing Zhang Yao. 

Australia will be launching the new Taste Australia campaign in Hong Kong, hailed as the biggest ever trade push in Australian horticulture’s history, with an ambitious plan to significantly grow exports by 2025, complementing an investment of more than $10.5M into trade activities over the next year. That will kick off a six-month tour of trade show events in Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Tasmania will be promoting its vegetables as well as fruit for the first time. "The vegetable growers are coming to promote Tasmanian vegetables which are every bit as good as our Tasmanian fruit, but we have just not promoted them in past," explains Phil Pyke, Business Development Manager at Fruit Growers Tasmania. "We already export to many different markets: for example, lettuce goes to China, carrots and onions are predominately exported across Asia. These are the main markets, but we are looking at where niche markets could come into play as well."

As always there will a number of companies present from New Zealand to promote the country's top quality fruit. Te Mata will be there with some new apples varieties. "We have the Dazzle, Aztec and Cosmic Crisp," explains Murray Tait from the company. 

South Africa will have strong representation at the trade fair as they look to open the Chinese market for more products.

After success in 2016 Premium European Kiwi will be back again to promote European kiwifruit in the Chinese, Canadian and United Arab Emirates markets 

Four Greek kiwifruit-producing organisations are behind the campaign: Agricultural Cooperative of Chrisochori (Nespar), Agricultural Association Nestos, Alkyon and Goustera.

A total of 27 companies from the main Ukrainian regions producing fruit and berries will participate in the exhibition. About 40 varieties of apples, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, currants and blueberries, as well as dried and frozen berries, are available from the Ukraine.

Article by Nichola Watson, FreshPlaza.com

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Since 1972, Blind Renaissance has an extensive history of creating the strong visual identity and cohesive media presence demanded by the sophistication of marketing environments. We design engaging, client-specific promotional materials by combining an educated artistic sensibility, knowledge of advertising trends in multiple industries and the ability to appropriately utilize new design, web and printing technology.

New apple varieties set the stage for strong season in Washington

Washington apple growers and shippers continue to diversify and adjust their plantings to meet the growing demand for Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala and the highly anticipated Cosmic Crisp variety. 

In addition, growers continue to incorporate new “club” or trademarked apple varieties into their crop mix.

Randy Hartmann, president of Pacificpro, based in Bellevue, WA, noted this has resulted in some great, well received and delicious new apple varieties to the marketplace and allowed individual growers and shippers to market a unique product to their customers and the end consumer. 

“With the public’s increasing focus on healthy diets and lifestyles, we are seeing continual growth in the sector as a whole and specifically in the organic category on all varieties,” he said. “As an industry and a company, we continue to focus on items that are important to our customers like overall quality, food safety, traceability and inventory management.”

Craig Hartmann, Randy Hartmann and Marcus Hartmann of Pacificpro

Craig Hartmann, Randy Hartmann and Marcus Hartmann of Pacificpro

Pacificpro procures and ships the entire Washington state apple manifest, including all organics and many club varieties to its wholesale, foodservice and retail customers in all regions of the United States.

Article by Keith Loria, The Produce News

Large apple crop, higher returns predicted

A year ago, Reds were forecast at 33.7 million but ended up being 4.5 million boxes more, which surprised people because they were pulling out Reds, he said. Larger fruit size increased volume but also a lot of small growers, not selected by companies to grow managed varieties, are stuck with Reds and poor returns until the new Cosmic Crisp takes off, he said.

The average wholesale price of standard grade, medium size Reds has been $11 to $14.90 per box for at least three months, down $5 on the low end and $4 on the high end since January, according to USDA tracking.

The tough thing for the start of the new season is that there’s still 5.5 million boxes of Reds left to sell from the 2016 season, O’Rourke said. It may hamper marketers’ ability to get premium prices at the start of the new season, he said.

“The cleanup on the other varieties is good, including Gala. But that’s a lot of Reds. Whether you give them away, I don’t know. We might be able to get more into India if competing suppliers like South Africa or Australia are late into market with new crop,” O’Rourke said. Mexico may take more since its crop is down, he said. Reds are needed for exports since managed varieties are too expensive for foreign importers, he said.

The jury is still out on whether there will be a lot more Reds than forecast again this year, Evans said. Reds are forecast at 24 percent of the crop and need to be 20 percent to get better prices, he said.

Braeburn and Jonagold are forecast at half their volumes of three years ago. Cameo is close to the same. Acreage of all three is lessening and they will pretty much be gone in a few years with the advent of Cosmic Crisp, O’Rourke said.

Article by Dan Wheat, Capital Press

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Since 1972, Blind Renaissance has an extensive history of creating the strong visual identity and cohesive media presence demanded by the sophistication of marketing environments. We design engaging, client-specific promotional materials by combining an educated artistic sensibility, knowledge of advertising trends in multiple industries and the ability to appropriately utilize new design, web and printing technology.

WASHINGTON APPLE INDUSTRY SEES RISE IN ORGANICS AND A NEW VARIETY

Washington state is positioned to be the leader in organic apples for 2017. Lindsey Huber, international marketing specialist with the Washington Apple Commission, based in Wenatchee, WA, said production is on the rise and may make up as much as 15 percent of total crop volume.

“The 2016-17 season wrapped up at approximately 10.8 million bushels of organic apples, and the Aug. 1 estimate forecasted 13 million cartons for the 2017-18 season,” she said. “Washington’s climate positions growers to take advantage of organic horticultural practices matching the increasing consumer demand for organic products. Expectations are for continued organic apple expansion into the future.”

The Washington apple industry also recently saw the first plantings of the newest Washington variety, the Cosmic Crisp, go in the ground this past spring. This variety was bred by the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research Commission, and will be available to all growers in the state.

“Our industry is very excited about this apple, as it’s the first generic (meaning, not a proprietary variety that is controlled by a single marketing organization) variety we’ve had for some time,” Huber said. “Our state will have a 10-year exclusivity on the variety, which gives us time to create a strong consumer link between Washington state and Cosmic Crisp.”

With Cosmic Crisp joining the Washington apple collection, consumers can expect to see fruit in stores as early as 2019.

“In addition, the number of club varieties is increasing, which means consumers will have an even wider range of tastes and textures available,” Huber said.

Article by Keith Loria, The Produce News

WSU WA 38 Field Day

Join WSU for a fall field day discussing horticulture and tips to optimize fruit quality of WA 38, WSU’s newest breeding program release. With more than 637,224 WA 38 trees in the ground already, WSU and the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission are working hard to provide growers with the information they need to choose training systems, pruning systems, rootstocks, pollinizers, and management techniques for high quality fruit.

WA 38 Tips to Optimize Fruit Quality

September 27, 2017 @ 3:00 to 4:30 pm

WSU Sunrise Orchard, Rock Island WA

The focus of this field visit is management tips for consistently superior fruit quality. Stefano Musacchi, WSU Professor of Horticulture will demonstrate a new top grafting trial and discuss how horticulture systems impact pack out. Ines Hanrahan, Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, will describe tips to achieve high pack outs, including how to determine optimal harvest dates, pluses and minuses of one versus two picks, and the utility of pre-harvest fungicide applications. Karen Lewis, WSU Extension will show ways to incorporate mechanization, such as hedging, in WA 38 management.

  • See the impacts of pruning, hedging and training strategies on fruit quality.
  • Learn how to use the new WA 38 starch scale.
  • Discuss management for high pack outs.
  • Taste WA 38 fruit.
  • See mechanical pruning tools.

Please note the Sept 6 field day in Prosser had to be canceled due to the later season. Fruit is not near enough to maturity for discussion.
 

Directions

WSU Sunrise Orchard, off highway 28 on Sunrise Lane, about 11 miles south of Wenatchee.

Red Delicious Apple Losing Its Appeal In Favor Of Jazzy Newcomers Like Cosmic Crisp

"Another exciting replacement," Myers says, "could be the Cosmic Crisp, developed by Washington State University." Research programs at land-grant universities like WSU do the breeding and testing, then license the seeds to private growers. Royalties fund future research programs, as well as student and academic amenities.

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TE MATA IN HONG KONG WITH NEW APPLE VARIETIES

New Zealand exporter, Te Mata Exports have been attending Asia Fruit Logistica since its inception. The main reason for exhibiting at the event is to meet their existing clients and, of course meet some new ones.

"We are well established in the main Asian and Indian & Middle Eastern markets," explained Murray Tait from the company. "Now we want to broaden our efforts into smaller, but growing marketssuch as Sri Lanka, Korea, the Philippines, the Maldives, and Indonesia."

The company's main products are apples, avocados, cherries and citrus.

"We will be talking to our customers about some of our new apple varieties in Hong Kong. We have the Dazzle, Aztec and Cosmic Crisp, among others in our planting programme. We are moving over to these new varieties as we remove some of the older trees and less preferred varieties.   

"We are also expanding our cherry production, so we are looking to extend our market reach. We are already active in Taiwan, China and Thailand, but are looking further afield at markets such as Korea, Japan and SE Asia." 

As with other New Zealand avocado growers, Murray is anticipating the entry of home grown avocados into China, "It may not be this year, we don't have the volumes anyway," said Murray. "We already have well established relationships with importers/partners in place, who would also take our avocados when the time comes.

Article by Nichola Watson, FreshPlaza.com

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Blind Renaissance

Since 1972, Blind Renaissance has an extensive history of creating the strong visual identity and cohesive media presence demanded by the sophistication of marketing environments. We design engaging, client-specific promotional materials by combining an educated artistic sensibility, knowledge of advertising trends in multiple industries and the ability to appropriately utilize new design, web and printing technology.

"A Red Apple that is Ultracrisp"

The odds of an apple making it from the testing stage to the grocery shelf are extremely long. There are perhaps 5,000 to 7,000 apple varieties in the world today, but only about 30 to 40 are commercially grown worldwide and slightly fewer in Washington state. Apples are evaluated on taste, appearance, storability, cost, how quickly they rot, and ease of growing. 

Despite the long odds of making it, there is one apple Evans has been working on that she’s super excited about.

“I have to talk about the new Cosmic Crisp. I mean, Cosmic Crisp is typically a red apple that is ultracrisp,” she explains.

The new apple is a cross between a Honeycrisp and an Enterprise. It’ll be commercially available in the US within two or three years, and Washington growers are betting that it’ll be a winner — they’ve planted 600,000 Cosmic Crisp trees this year and Evans expects some 5 million more trees to go in the ground next season.

So while the Cosmic Crisp could wow us in the West, who knows how Chinese consumers will react to the new shape and color. Ultimately, that will partially guide business, and growing, decisions in Washington state.

Article by Jason Margolis, Kuow.org

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Blind Renaissance

Since 1972, Blind Renaissance has an extensive history of creating the strong visual identity and cohesive media presence demanded by the sophistication of marketing environments. We design engaging, client-specific promotional materials by combining an educated artistic sensibility, knowledge of advertising trends in multiple industries and the ability to appropriately utilize new design, web and printing technology.