Both imported organic pears and organic apples have gotten a slightly later start this season.
This year there will be slightly less volume on organic pears from Argentina.
Pears: This year, slightly less volume will be seen on organic pears from Argentina. “The pear season started a few weeks later than normal and appears it will end sooner than last season,” says Maureen Royal with Bridges Organic Produce based in Portland, Oregon. “The season started the first week of March rather than mid-February and will probably end by mid-July.”
Royal also notes there will be fewer larger sized organic Anjou pears this season and not as many Bosc pears due to quality issues from poor weather conditions pre-harvest. Golden Russet Bosc pears will also be limited this season.
Apples: Import organic apples started for Bridges last week and with fruit coming from Argentina, New Zealand and Chile.
Maureen Royal says import organic apples started for Bridges last week and with fruit coming from Argentina, New Zealand and Chile.
Certain varieties of import organic apples will see high demand. “Some varieties of apples are available from controlled atmosphere storage in Washington, such as Fujis and Granny Smith, those varieties could be received slightly later to allow for the difference of seasons,” says Royal.
Meanwhile, the first import organic Galas arrived from Argentina this week. Over the next few weeks, Chilean and New Zealand organic Galas will also arrive along with organic NZ Honeycrisp. “These will be followed by other varieties such as Granny Smith, Fujis, Braeburns, NZ Queen, NZ Rose and Red Delicious,” says Royal, who notes that NZ Queen and NZ Rose are always popular variety due to their color and flavor. Red Delicious apples will be limited this season.
She adds that Galas from all three countries, along with Granny Smith and Fuji, will be available in volume and are expected to be very flavorful. Bridges Organic can do custom packs on 12/2#, 18/2#, 12/3# and 8/5# in both pears and apples as needed.
Fewer smaller sizes
In general, Bridges Produce is bringing in more volume of larger size apples and pears compared to last year though it will have less volume on smaller sizes and bagged fruit.
Bridges is bringing in more volume of larger size apples and pears compared to last year though it will have less volume on smaller sizes and bagged fruit.
As for demand for imported organic apples and pears, consumers continued interest in eating healthy, and organic in particular, is still fueling increased demand. “Consumption is currently increasing but inflation on food in general could possibly slow things down,” says Royal.
She also notes the biggest trend Bridges Produce has seen in the past year is the change in preferred sizing on consumer bags, with many opting for 2# bags rather than 3# bags of apples and pears.
Prices (and costs) up
As for pricing, it’s stronger than last season on most varieties of both apples and pears. “Prices have increased due to inflation in ocean freight, land freight, warehouse storage, warehouse custom packing fees and all the costs of growing organic,” says Royal, who notes that ocean freight for example is double the price of last season.
Looking ahead, the import season tends to wrap up at the end of August or the first week of September. “Last season was unusual. It ran to October with odds and ends of varieties and sizes. This was mainly caused by shipping problems with fewer vessels available to the states and receiving delays and late arrivals at all ports. It backed up movement mid-season and slowed sales,” says Royal. “This season has continued with some supply chain issues on vessels and arrivals. But it is not as chaotic as last year.”
Additionally, Royal notes that Bridges Produce has been a consistent organic supplier for 20 years, and is also working in other organic commodities including cherries, blueberries, potatoes, onions and Mexican row crops to supply to its customers while providing grower partners with predictability and steady growth.