Apple shippers throughout the U.S. report excellent movement, with demand for lower-priced fruit strong.

Movement has been “surprisingly” brisk this fall, said Steve Riessen, president of Burt, N.Y.-based Sun Orchard Fruit Co.

“Normally, when you have a good-sized crop, movement can be problematic because of the competition, but it’s been very good,” Riessen said.

A big reason for that brisk movement, Riessen said, is unprecedented high quality.

“It’s the best fruit condition we’ve had a long time, maybe ever,” he said.

Pressures have been very high, color excellent and brix average, Riessen said. Sizing also has been average, with varieties like galas and empires peaking on 100s and 113s, he said.

Pricing in the first half of November was “decent,” Riessen said. For the short term he expected it to hold steady, but by about early December, it should start to go up, he said.

On Nov. 10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $20 for tray packs of mcintosh 100s from New York, down from $25-27 last year at the same time.

Meanwhile, in Washington, movement is “terrific,” said Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager for Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash.

“(We’re seeing) near-record levels for this time period,” Queen said Nov. 11. “Demand is high. Many retailers are taking advantage of the current pricing.”

Those prices have started to slowly move up, Queen said, and will continue to rise as shippers work through regular storage shipments and move into controlled atmosphere storage.

Sizing will continue to be on the large side throughout the season, with fruit peaking on 72s, 80s and 88s, Queen said.

While some braeburns and a few other varieties were affected by a cold snap in October, quality is good, with very clean appearance and decent color, Queen said.

In Michigan, movement continues to be very brisk, as the industry builds on its busiest October ever.

“Everything’s going good,” said Tom Curtis, president of Michigan Fresh Marketing, Belding. “Movement is steady, there are very few problems with quality — the biggest issue is the lower price, but when you have a lot of fruit, that’s going to happen.”

Prices won’t likely increase until the first of the year, Curtis said.

Because of the huge crop, fruit is sizing on average one size smaller than in 2008-09, Curtis said. As a result, many apples are moving in bags, demand for which has been good, he said.

Apple movement continues strong, prices stay lower