by Stemilt Growers
WENATCHEE, Wash. – Stemilt and their marketing partner, Douglas Fruit, are gearing up for another successful Artisan Organics® apricot season, which is predicted to start two weeks later than normal. Stemilt expects their organic apricots to begin harvest in late June, with volumes ramping up quickly for promotable volumes throughout July….Meanwhile, here’s a summary of the just finished Texas 1015 onion shipping season.
With a historic early start last year, it is only fitting to experience a late start for crops up and down the West Coast this year.
The Douglas family tree fruit growing roots date back to the 1890s and today, the fourth generation is hands-on when it involves the family’s growing and packing business, which includes apricots, peaches, nectarines, apples, and cherries. In 2007, the Douglas family started the transition process to move the majority of its apricot orchards to organic production, as well as their entire crop of peaches and nectarines, viewing the move to organic as an opportunity to differentiate the flavors of its stone fruits.
“We’ve found a great niche in growing apricots organically that matches well with our flavor focus,” said Jill Douglas, co-president of Douglas Fruit. “We farm in the best locale, Washington’s Columbia Basin, where warm days and cool nights create beautifully colored fruits with exceptional flavors. Artisan Organics® apricots really exceed standards thanks to the climate and organic farming practices.”
Stemilt accounts for approximately 40 percent of Washington State’s apricot crop taking the leading position in apricot production. Stemilt is also the leader in organic cots, with 60 percent of its entire apricot crop grown and certified as organic. The leading variety that Stemilt produces is Robada.
The peak of organic apricot shipping season should start in early July and continue through the first three weeks of July. Organic food sales are growing by double-digits annually.
Yakima Valley apple shipments – grossing about $5700 to New York City.
Texas Onion Shipments
Texas onion shipments were down early in the season, but finished strong where shipments for the overall season were about average. The Lower Rio Grande Valley was hit by excessive rains and insect damage by thrips. Thrips are a minute black winged insect that sucks plant sap and can be serious pest to ornamental and food plants when present in large numbers. Texas 1015 onion shipments got underway in early March about a month earlier than normal. Typically Texas will ship about 350 to 400 truck loads of 800 bags (40,000 pounds) daily, but during the period for Easter loadings shipments rose to around 480 to525 loads per day.
Lower Rio Grande Valley watermelon shipments – grossing about $4400 to New York City.