The Honeycrisp apple is one people love to talk about, but they generally don’t have too much left to talk about come winter, and nothing left to talk about come spring.
“Honeycrisp had unusually strong demand this year,” said Don Armock, president of Sparta, Mich.-based Riveridge Produce. “We packed twice what we had last year and sold out earlier than last year.”
Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager for Yakima, Wash.-based Domex Superfresh Growers, said the state’s supplies were nearly depleted by mid-December and that a few might be in the marketplace through January.
“We’ll be moving those out,” Queen said. “They don’t have a terrific storage life, but it’s a great ride while it’s here.”
Shippers are working to fix that problem, and some even plan to have Honeycrisp into the spring.
“We’re the largest grower of Honeycrisp in the state, and we’ve figured out how to store them, so we’ll have them into March,” said Suzanne Wolter, marketing director for Selah, Wash.-based Rainier Fruit Co.
The company has strong relationships with its retail partners, so it plans to continue supplying those retail partners.
“They’ll be available nationally but probably not as abundant, certainly, as they were in the fall,” Wolter said.
The variety isn’t one for storage and hasn’t needed to be, as consumers have gobbled up everything the market has to offer usually by late fall or early winter.
Jim Allen, president of the Fishers-based New York Apple Association, said New York was running out of Honeycrisps by late December.
“I think there’s a lot of Honeycrisp that’s in the ground on juvenile trees across the country, and a lot of fruit will be much better quality as those trees mature,” Pepperl said.
Although the industry has taken care of the undersupply issue for this variety, demand still exceeds supply, Pepperl said.
“We had Honeycrisp earlier, but that’s all gone,” said Barry Winkel, general manager of Greg Orchards & Produce Inc., Benton Harbor, Mich. “They’re hard to store, so it’s best to get rid of them, I guess.”