Posts Tagged “apple”

Cosmic Crisp Apple is Causing Quite a Stir

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cosmiccrispThe parade of new apple names already in the nation’s supermarkets is indeed a long one. Now there is Cosmic Crisp.  It will be joining Envy, Ambrosia, SnapDragon, SweeTango, Kiku, Smitten, RubyFrost, Kanzi and Junami brands, which doesn’t cover them all.
In fact, they are being joined by about 80 newer apples arriving from world production areas this year alone.
Looking ahead, say, three or four years, from Washington state there will be the supermarket arrival of Cosmic Crisp.
This apple with the out-of-this world name is generating huge notice in the Washington apple industry, and commercial planting won’t even start until next year.
That’s right — even though its first trees are yet to be planted, Cosmic Crisp has received tons of industry discussion and media coverage.  And this is exposure even outside of traditional agricultural outlets, extending to urban broadcasts.
Yes, the reasons are multiple, which illustrates that Comic Crisp isn’t just another new apple.  Hopes are it may be the next Honeycrisp in popularity, but it also represents a completely new and innovative apple introduction system.
First there’s the apple itself.  A cross between Honeycrisp and Enterprise, it was developed by Washington State University tree fruit research going back nearly 20 years.
The first Cosmic Crisp won’t be available to consumers until 2020, most likely, and will be sharing the same harvest window as red delicious.
With the widespread attention going to this apple, along with red delicious being one showing its age against certain other newer apples on the market (Can you say “Honeycrisp?”), the buzz surrounding Cosmic Crisp will likely become even more pronounced as its baby trees become more adult.

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Eastern Produce Loadings will Soon Arrive

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While California is the top shipper of peaches, South Carolina and Georgia usually rank second and third, and not necessarily in that order, depending upon the season.

Peach shipments from South Carolina will get started by early June, usually a few days later than nearby Georgia.  However, it won’t be until good shipments come on several weeks later, you’ll have decent loading opporunities.  Peak loadings should come just in time for the Fourth of July.


An unseasonably cold March and disease could very well slash watermelon shipments from Central and South Florida by 50%.


Western Michigan apple shippers apparently dodged the proverbial bullet last week, avoiding significant freeze damage, which would have been a scary repeat of a year ago, when most shipments were wiped out by the cold.  It appears there will be be good apple shipments when movement starts this summer.

Similar to 2012, Michigan growers have 36,500 acres in apple production this season.


Asparagus growers in Southern Ontario have taken a hit as freezing temperatures took their toll on the crop recently.  Frozen asparagus has a clear appearance and spears will droop as it warms up and should not be shipped.  However, these plants will grow more spears.

Avocados from Mexic0Produce truckers this season have already picked up a lot of avocado at ports of entry along the Southern border.  Trucks have delivered nearly a million pounds of Mexican avocados to markets across the USA and Canada.  However, this is only the beginning.  Before the season ends later this year, a billion pounds of Mexican avocadoes will have been hauled to markets a cross North America.


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Loadings for Apples, Watermelons, Onions and Potatoes

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Apple shipments will remain good through the remainder of the season (late July) as about 36 million bushels of fresh-market apples, mostly in Washington state, remain in storage for shipping.  This is  about  21% more than last year at the same time.

The  21% figure also represents how many more apples remain to be shipped compared to  the 5-year average.  Less than 1 million bushels of apples remain to be hauled from other states besides Washington.

There was more fruit remaining in storages for all major apple varieties to be shipped compared to last year at this time.

Washington state apples – grossing about $6500 to New York City.


While watermelon shipments in Florida got underway in early May, it will be the end of the month before there is decent volume.  Weather and disease factors will reduce Florida melon loading opportunities this season…Both Texas and Arizona are loading watermelons, with good volume not arriving until around the Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27).

Sweet Onions

Looking ahead to the Northwest,  Walla Walla, WA growers have planted approximately 600 acres of the Walla Walla sweet onions this year, down  slightly from the 2012 season.   Sweet onion shipments should get going around  mid-June and running through mid-August.  In total, Washington state last year shipped non-storage onions from about 2,500 acres, up slightly from 2011.


Idaho continues trying to shed itself of another mammoth crop of russet potatoes.  The state is averaging nearly 1,700 truckload equivalents of spud shipments weekly, although a significant amount of this is moving by rail….Second heaviest potato shipments are currently coming out of the San Luis Valley of Colorado, where about 575 truckload equivalents are moving each week.

San Luis Valley potatoes – grossing about $1700 to Dallas.

Idaho potatoes – about $5525 to Boston.

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Produce Hauling from the Salinas Valley, San Joaquin Valley

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Between now and August produce truckers will have the upper hand when it comes to freight rates – assuming you don’t have contract rates (but that’s another story).

Not only are we nearing the peak shipping season from California, which accounts for about half of the nation’s fresh produce, but other areas, particularly in the upper mid-west and east are providing competition for trucks.

Caution Hauling Desert Items

Before I get into the Salinas and San Joaquin Valley shipments, use caution loading desert vegetables such as bell peppers and corn as temperatures well above 100 degrees have been occurring.  It’s been really hot in the Coachella and Imperial valleys, as well as Arizona’s Yuma district.  Little or no report of heat damage has yet been reported but keep your eyes peeled for scalding and other heat symptoms in the days ahead.  Even watermelons can suffer if prolonged heat occurs.

Salinas Valley

Dozens of different kinds of vegetables are being shipped from the Salinas area.  But the big volume items are various types of lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower.  There also is decent volume with brussel sprouts and celery.  Nearby Castroville is the artichoke capital of the world, while nearby Watsonville is ground zero for strawberry shipments.

San Joaquin Valley

This report will focus primarily on summer from from the SJV.  We’ll soon cover the many vegetables coming into volume.

Stone fruit, led by peaches, plums and nectarines, are just getting underway from the southern part of the valley.

The consensus appear to be that around 40 to 43 million boxes of stone fruit will be shipped this year from the San Joaquin Valley, which would be pretty average when looking at the volume for the past five years.

California cherry shipments are building and hitting good volume just prior to the Memorial weekend (May 25-27).  However, winds damaged 40 to 50% of the early variety Rainier cherries around Bakersfield on May 5th.

There also was some wind damage to almond trees in the Bakersfield area.

Last year, California shipped a record 101.5 milion boxes of grapes.  The Coachella Valley, which is shipping now, accounts for 10 percent or less of this volume.  The rest comes from the San Joaquin Valley, starting with the Arvin District in late June.

Apple shipments, which took at 30 percent hit last year, are expected to return to normal this year.  Beginning in July, California apple shipments get underway, but this is minor (2 million boxes) compared to Washington state  (129 million boxes predicted).

Kern District

Located near Bakersfield, Kern County ships a lot carrots and potatoes, althouigh this time of the year you will get a better freight rate hauling more perishable items ranging from lettuce to stone fruit, grapes and berries.

Kern County potatoes shipments started about a week ago.  Due to so much over production of russet potatoes around the country, this variety has been reduced by up to 75 percent.  Russets have been replaced primarily with red, yellow and white potatoes.

When Kern County growers are not planting carrots or potatoes in their fields, they use bell peppers as a rotation crop.  Bell peppers loadings are just starting and building in volume, continuing until November.

Salinas vegetables – grossing about $5200 to Chicago.

California desert vegetables – about $7300 to New York City.


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New Canadian Apple Variety Available in Vancouver and Kelowna

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Vancouver, British Columbia – Apple lovers will have a new variety to sink their teeth into that is set to debut in select stores this fall.   It’s named the Salish™.

“This is a delicious example of government and industry working together to deliver new market opportunities to our farmers,” said MP Cannan. “When you taste the Salish™ apple, you are sampling the sweet rewards of many years of research and investments in innovation that will pay off for the farmers that grow this tasty achievement.”

The Salish™ is tangy, juicy and very crisp. It is medium-sized, with a pinkish red blush over a yellow background colour. The apple has characteristics that appeal not only to consumers, with its high quality appearance, texture and flavour, but also those that Canadian apple growers seek, such as its late harvest date, good storage and shelf life, high yields and good growth habits for high-density orchards.

“With already 15 orchardists committed to growing the Salish™, we look forward to having increased production year after year,” stated John Kingsmill, General Manager & CEO of PICO. “This delightful apple holds the promise of being one of the best.”


About the Salish™

The Salish™ is named for the Canadian Interior language of Thompson, Okanagan-Colville, and Shuswap.   AAFC researchers at the Pacific Agri-Food Centre (PARC) in Summerland led the Salish’s™ development and worked closely with the Okanagan Plant Improvement Corporation (PICO) to test it with growers.

The Salish™ consistently scored very well in formal sensory panels, thanks to its tangy, juicy flavour and crisp texture. In a joint project with AAFC’s breeding program and PICO, PARC’s sensory program ran additional consumer tests at the UBC Apple Festival. The Salish™ generated a lot of positive response, with festival goers returning to ask for it specifically. A few specialty stores in the Vancouver area have also created a loyal following for the apple.

Limited quantities of the Salish™ will be available for sale at select stores in Greater Vancouver and Kelowna this fall. (See list of retailers at

Apple Production in British Columbia

In 2011, BC produced about 24 percent of the apples grown in Canada and was the third largest producer after Ontario and Quebec. The total marketed production from BC in 2011 was 96,614 metric tons with a farm gate value of C$36.7 million. This represented about 26percent of the national farm gate value of apples in 2011 (Statistics Canada).

About 60percent of all planted land in BC orchards is planted with apple trees. Nearly 92 percent of the apple crop is sold fresh, with British Columbians consuming around 25% of the apples grown in BC.   The rest of the crop is processed, with apple juice being the most popular product.

Of the $14.4 million in fresh apples exported from BC, 74 percent went to the U.S.

Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

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New Variety is a Cross Between Gala and Braeburn

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Yakima, Wash. – With the start of fall, apples are showing up in the produce aisle in a big way. Sweetie™, an intensely sweet and crunchy new apple variety from FirstFruits of Washington, will be making an appearance at retail this September.

First planted in New Zealand, Sweetie™ is now grown in Wash. State by Broetje Orchards and is sold by FirstFruits Marketing. Sweetie™ combines the best attributes of two parents–Gala’s excellent sugars alongside the firm-crisp texture of Braeburn, but with a unique flavor of its own. Characteristic with its name, Sweetie™ leads the pack of varieties when it comes to sweetness.

True to the Broetje growing philosophy, Sweetie™ stands next to Opal® as an example of new variety innovation and top standards for flavor. It was first planted as a 30-acre test block in Prescott, Wash. Over the past two years, additional blocks have been planted as trees have been determined to yield good quality fruit and consumer response for the variety has been positive.

Similar to Opal®, Sweetie™ was released in limited markets where consumer response could be measured. Initial response has been very favorable, especially amongst consumers of Gala or Fuji, whose palate tends to like a sweeter apple.

“We are always looking for new varieties that will resonate with consumers to bring to our customers. After our huge success with Opal® we knew we would have to follow with something great, and I think we have found it in Sweetie™,” remarked Andy Tudor, marketing manager at FirstFruits of Washington.

“Launching a new variety is a very complex process,” continued Tudor. “The fruit needs to be grower friendly, have a good shelf life and appearance, and have some kind of unique quality to get people to try it. Sweetie™ has all of those characteristics and I believe we have a winner once again.”

These apples are full of flavor, highlighted by an intense sweet taste and crunchy texture. It’s not just their great taste, but Sweeties’ beautiful red blush on a golden-green skin, which makes them stand out from other varieties.

Sweetie™ was granted its own PLU #3628, and will be featured in the new product showcase at the PMA Fresh Summit Convention and Expo in October in Anaheim, CA. 

FirstFruits Marketing of Washington is a collaborative apple marketing company owned by growers. These growers share a commitment to producing high quality fruit while balancing the demands of purpose, people, planet and profit so that a portion of profits can be donated to non-profit missions supporting the underserved. For more information, visit

Source: FirstFruits Marketing of Washington

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Washington State Apple Loadings Expected to be Brisk

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As more information becomes available on the prospects for the nation’s apple shipments, which get underway in August for the 2012-13 shipping season, it’s becoming apparent there should be record setting loading opportunities for apple haulers out of Washington state.

The reasons are two-fold.  First, Washington is on course to pick, pack and ship 120 million boxes of apples in the upcoming season, which would be nearly 7 million more boxes than the season which will close in the coming weeks.  Secondly, an April freeze clobbered upcoming crops in Michigan, parts of New York state and in Ontario.  This means apple buyers who normally source the fruit from these areas will be relying on Washington state more than ever.  In a normal year, Washington state accounts for about 60 percent of the USA’s apple shipments.

Apple volume is expected to remain more normal for the upcoming season from the Mid Atlantic states, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virgina, as well as from the New England states.  This holds true as well for New York’s Hudson and Champlian valleys.  However, central and western New York apple shippers were not near as lucky during the April freeze.

Washington state apples – grossing about $6200 to Orlando.

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Steady Apple Shipments Set Through Summer

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With over 30 million bushels of apples in the USA remaining in storages to be shipped, steady loading opportunties through much of the summer are expected, especially from Washington state.  There is one percent more fruit remaining in storages than last year’s large crop, and three percent more tonnage remaining compared to the five-year average.

The Yakima and Wenatchee valleys of Washington state are averaging about 2500 truckload equivalents of apple shipments a week, although this amount includes some shipments by rail….By contrast, Michigan apple loadings are amounting to around 125 truck loads per week….New York state apple shipments are similar, but declining as the season winds down.

Washington apples – grossing about $6200 to Atlanta.

Michigan apples – about $2800 to Oklahoma City.

FREEZE UPDATE — I reported  on May 9 a major freeze hitting Ontario and Michigan apple shipping areas, as well as New York and possibly Pennsylvania.  This will affect your loading opportunities starting in late July and August and continue for the 2012-13 apple shipping season.

It will be June, if not July in some instances, before it is known how much next season’s apple shipments will be hurt, but it will be substantial.  The damage to Ontario’s 16,000 acres of orchards has been termed “catastrophic,” a pretty harsh term for normally optimtistic produce shippers.  It also known there is significant damage to apples in Michigan and upstate New York.




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Great Lakes Apple Shipments Will be Hit

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Postmedia News is reporting a catastrophic freeze has wiped out about 80 per

cent of Ontario’s apple crop and has the province’s fruit industry looking at losses already estimated at more than $100 million.

“This is the worst disaster fruit growers have ever, ever experienced,” orchard owner Keith Wright said May 4.

“We’ve been here for generations and I’ve never heard of this happening before across the province. This is unheard of where all fruit growing areas in basically the Great Lakes area, in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York State, Ontario, are all basically wiped out. It’s unheard of,” the Harrow, Ont.-area grower said.

If apple shipments from the Great Lakes region falls by 80 percent there is bound to be more demand and brisk loadings of Washington state apples once the new season kicks off in July and August.

About 125 truckloads of Michigan apples are being shipped a week from storages and are grossing about $3200 to Dallas.


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Comparing Nutrition in Fresh Produce

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Here are some excerpts from an article written by the editors of Runner’s World, titled, Battle of the Super Foods.  Following are some comparisions of the most nutritional among nutritional fruits and vegetables.

STRAWBERRIES vs. BLUEBERRIES The winner: Blueberries

Both are health all-stars, but a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that blueberries (particularly wild ones) showed the most antioxidant activity of all the fruits tested. “These antioxidants help keep your immune system strong and reduce muscle-tissue damage from exercise.” ,” says Mitzi Dulan, R.D., co-author of The All-Pro Diet.

SPINACH vs. KALE The winner: Kale
Kale’s nutritional might would win over even Popeye. Gram for gram, kale contains four times more vitamin C, and one and a half times the amount of immune boosting vitamin A and vitamin K. “Vitamin K ensures that blood clots properly,” says says sports dietitian Suzanne Girard Eberle, R.D., author of Endurance Sports Nutrition., “but it’s also needed to make a bone protein essential for strong, healthy bones.” Kale contains three times more lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants deposited in the retina that work together to protect eye health.

Orange beats apple. They have similar amounts of calories and fiber, but oranges have 12 times as much vitamin C. 

Red pepper beats green pepper. It boasts eight times the vitamin A, which keeps your immune system strong.





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