The Packer’s National Editor Tom Karst chatted on March 8 with Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager for Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash. Read the entire chat on the Fresh Talk blog.

4:18 p.m. Tom Karst: Thanks for taking time for a chat. What are you working on this week, Loren?

Q&A | Loren Queen, Domex Superfresh Growers

Queen

4:20 p.m. Loren Queen: Preparing for the FPFC NorCal and CPMA shows. I’m also shooting video of our newest orchard going in this week.

4:21 p.m. Karst: If an orchard is going in, that must mean growers are feeling pretty good about the future. Of course, that’s a generalization, but what is your sense of what kind of year it has been for the Washington apple industry?

4:25 p.m. Queen: It has been a great year for the Washington apple industry. We have a bigger crop than expected with great quality. Couple this with escalating worldwide demand and you have a bunch of cautiously optimistic apple growers.

4:27 p.m. Karst: The latest estimate for Washington apples has just been released. What is the latest fresh packout number and what will it mean for buyers the rest of the season?

4:35 p.m. Queen: The number is now at 107,948 million 40-pound boxes. This latest estimate reflects increases in primarily gala and red delicious, which is good news for everyone due to demand on those two staple varieties. It will help keep everyone supplied through the summer and may help slow (price) escalation at retail.

4:37 p.m. Karst: Interesting. Loren, when did you first become connected to the Washington apple industry?

4:44 p.m. Queen: I came into the industry in the mid ’90s with Fresh Cut magazine. I came to the apple industry with “Snappy Apple” fresh-cut apples from TPG in Othello, Wash., in 2004 and came to Superfresh Growers in 2006.

4:45 p.m. Karst: I appreciated your recent trip to The Packer’s offices. How do you define what you do for Superfresh? What do you enjoy the most about your responsibilities?

4:56 p.m. Queen: Two tough questions, Tom. Like so many I wear lots of different hats. My primary job is communicating with the trade and consumers via advertising, Twitter, Facebook, newsletters, etc. I also run our trade show exhibits, coordinate promotions/materials, shoot video and even drive the occasional forklift when no one is looking!