Chilean growers riding wave of Pink Lady demand
Pink Lady America general manager John Reeves says demand for the fruit he markets has never been stronger in the U.S., and Chilean growers have risen to the task of filling the counterseasonal gap.
He tells www.freshfruitportal.com Chilean shipments of Cripps Pink, which is the variety whose best fruit are branded as Pink Lady, to the U.S. rose from 58,000 metric tons (MT) in 2011 to 65,500MT in 2012.
"We've seen a real surge in quality from Chile this season with the work our partner GLA (Global Licensing Association) has been doing in disseminating information through their quality assurance program down there," he says.
"They encourage growers to select the best growing areas, and producers are often doing multiple picking three or four times, they're using SmartFresh which most of the growers here in North America use, and they are using a slow cooling process instead of shocking the fruit really quickly.
"This was the first year we saw great quality Chilean Pink Lady apples in October, in fact it's the first time we've seen great quality in October from anywhere."
On the other hand, New Zealand shipments of Pink Lady apples were down by between 30-40%, according to Reeves. He attributes this to increased charges from the license owner in the country, which adds to existing import costs for the fruit on arrival in the U.S.
He says plantings of Cripps Pink and the early-harvesting Maslin are on the rise in the U.S., with waiting times of two to three years for the latter.