With the peak of the U.S.’s apple season having passed, United Apple Sales is drawing attention to its new Ruby Frost variety, which performs best late in the season.
“Where a lot of apples today that were picked back in October have diminishing flavors, Ruby Frost is an apple that still tastes fantastic and actually is hitting its peak [now] as far as its flavor profile for the season,” says Brett Baker, the company’s international account manager.
He attributes this difference to the variety’s maturing process: “As the apple matures in storage, the starch level goes down and the sugars start to come out more, so the flavor profile is fantastic this spring.”
Along with its reported superior flavor, United Apple Sales’ says that its strategic approach to managing inventories, in addition to its Controlled Atmosphere (CA) program, gives retail partners a distinct market advantage with Ruby Frost late in the season.
It is hoped this advantage will maintain as the variety grows – October’s harvest saw an increased supply of the category, with 2018’s volume up about 30% from the previous year’s, notes Baker.
While the variety is still a relatively small one, with Baker estimating that about 175 New York growers produce it, he believes it could extend its reach as the company explores export opportunities to the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
“We’re talking to potential accounts in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Israel as we speak.”
He adds: “We’re trying to expand so we can continue to grow more and grow them in a sustainable manner.”
Elaborating on the company’s focus on sustainability, he continues: “All of our growers are working to do things to be stewards to the land – we’re all trying to follow more sustainable and responsible growing habits.
“Part of that is using growing methods where we’re getting more volume off the trees and more volume off the land, which reduces the actual amount of soil used, compaction, and the carbon footprint we leave as far as in our orchards.”
He stresses that the company also aims to use fewer resources to farm its bushels, concluding: “We’re trying to do everything more efficiently.”
Looking to the future, Bakers is optimistic about the company’s growers and growing practices.
“I do expect that our farmers, will continue to find ways to grow them more efficiently and with better yield per acre. I expect the trees to continue to fill out, grow stronger, grow larger, and be able to produce more apples per tree.”
When asked about the possibility of expanding production areas, Bakers concludes: “As far as additional acres, a lot of that will have to do with what the sales dictate.”