How Applewood Fresh Growers aims to meet consumers’ apple needs

May 28, 2024 // Tom Karst

With another good apple crop anticipated for 2024, Sparta, Mich.-based Applewood Fresh Growers is well-stocked to market premium 2023 apples well into the summer, company officials say.

“We currently have EverCrisp, Kanzi, Kiku, and Ambrosia apples in season until end of June into July,” said Shelby Miller, marketing and sales specialist for the Applewood Fresh Growers.

Looking ahead, Miller said early 2024 season apples will be eagerly received by customers.

“We will be beginning the 2024 fall season with our premium flavored varieties, Rave and SweeTango,” Miller said. “We plan to kick off our 2024 season with the best back-to-school apple, Rave, with plans to begin shipping in late August or early September.”

She said consumer demand for SweeTango apples is also expanding, and that variety will be shipped by early September.

While it is too early for a 2024 Michigan apple crop forecast, growers expect another good crop, said Brian Coates, vice president for Applewood Fresh Growers. While some areas were hurt by frost events in the spring, the damage was not widespread, he said.

“With Mother Nature on our side, we hope to have another plentiful apple crop,” Coates said. “Thanks to our sunny days and cool nights, Michigan is one of the best regions for growing apples. With our multiple packing and growing locations in Southeast and West Michigan, we can grow a sustainable and reliable crop year after year.”

Michigan’s location allows the marketer to sustainably lessen food miles and maintain fresher fruit in the Eastern half of the U.S because of regional advantages, he said.

Applewood Fresh Growers continues to grow — both in apples and business, Coates said.

“With the addition of our new sales manager, Heather Childs, and fresh partnership with FirstFruits out of Washington, we are gearing up for a successful apple season,” he said.

Miller said preseason planning is crucial to a successful marketing campaign characterized by consistent, well-rounded programs that can be enhanced and used year after year.

“Our focus with marketing this upcoming season is to introduce innovative, easily accessible tools for our customers,” she said. “From customized, unique in-store and online content to finding ways to push existing strategies even further, our goal is to give consumers a reason to keep buying and consuming fresh Michigan apples. The most exciting part of marketing is seeing how far an idea can go and making our growers proud of the apples they produce.”

Miller said providing consumers with fresh, delicious Michigan apples is exciting every season. “Food is power,” she said. “Eat more apples!”

Source: The Packer