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Chelan Fresh ready to deliver on club varieties

Following a cool spring and favorable summer growing conditions, Washington apple growers are expecting a good quality crop this season with plenty of promotable volume in club varieties. “Every season we get crop volume reports with all the apple varieties listed and there is a category that’s listed as other,” commented Mac Riggan, vice president of marketing with Chelan Fresh. “It’s made up of all the new club varieties out there. This year that group is up 32 percent.”

SugarBee-Apple-x2-w-PLU With more proprietary varieties on the market than ever before, Chelan Fresh is ready to deliver on quality and taste with SugarBee, Koru, Rockit, and Lucy apples. “SugarBee is going to be up around 220,000 boxes and we’re excited to grow our market access this year. We have a lot of pent-up demand — every day people are calling asking for SugarBee,” said Riggan. The company will also have a SugarBee cider coming out this season and is planning to ship 20,000 six-bottle cases. “I’m not necessarily a cider guy, but I love this stuff,” he continued. “It’s not too sweet, not too tart. It’s a shelf stable juice, which we are excited to market right alongside SugarBee apples.”

Lucy Glo and Lucy Rose apples will debut at PMA for the second time this year. “There’s been red flesh apples around for ages but they haven’t tasted great. Lucy apples are a game changer in that department,” said Riggan. “They are a very good eating experience.”

“Rockit seems to be gaining momentum in all ages. It’s such a consistent eating experience — more than most people have had — making it a great snack item for kids since they’re used to everything else they snack on being consistent, flavor wise,” explained Riggan. “With Rockit, you know what to expect. That consistency creates a really great value proposition for the consumer.”

Riggan reported good quality in the company’s popular Koru apple, though unlike their other varieties, new crop Koru doesn’t become available until after the first of the year.