view current print edition







Chelan Fresh prepping for Fresh Summit

With only a few weeks before the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in Orlando, FL, Chelan Fresh is making arrangements to ensure its presence at this year’s show is as valuable as ever — both for the Chelan, WA-based company and its customers.

38232159181 405bf03f72 k “At PMA, like always, we’re going to feature what’s new and different about us,” said Mac Riggan, director of marketing for the company. “We have a growing organic program, which we are excited about, and we’ll be featuring that with some of our new pouch bags and merchandising display kit, as well as some of our other new varieties.”

Chelan Fresh will occupy booth No. 1789 and will also be highlighting its SugarBee Apple, an exclusive variety to the company. It will also be featuring its Ruby Cherry program, the Rockit Apple (in a three-pound clear shuttle pack) and Koru Apple.

“We dub the Rockit shuttle pack as the millennial mom’s cookie jar because kids so often come home and eat what they see, and that’s usually in the pantry,” Riggan said. “What’s nice about this shuttle pack is you can put it right on your counter for a week or two unrefrigerated, because the shelf life is great, and kids can just eat them right out of the tub.”

A show like Fresh Summit is important to Chelan Fresh because it provides the opportunity to showcase its new products and see a lot of people.

“Everyone comes to you at the booth, so it’s a cost effective way, both money- and time-wise, to take everything that makes you different and unique and feature it at a show where retailers are there to look for you,” Riggan said. “A lot of times you may go to visit someone, and during the meeting they are so busy they are looking at their phone or watch, but here, they are focused on what they are doing and you have their undivided attention.”

There have been a lot of organic apples this year out of Washington and Riggan expects to be discussing the pluses of growing the category with retailers. He also thinks there will be discussions on the tariff situation of domestic fruits and how to get retailers to push smaller sizes or super-large sizes of certain varieties.

Turning to the crops, Riggan noted the quality of this year’s crop is good and the fruit size in 2018 has looked a little better than last year.

“We’re already getting people writing into our website telling us how good the Galas are eating this year, which is something we’re not used to,” he said. “The weather out here is good. We had those fires but most of the smoke is gone now and the temperatures are in the low 50s at night, 70s in the day, which is perfect for finishing off the fruit.”