Washington grows more apples than any other U.S. state, according to the Washington Apple Commission. This makes the area a leading source for some of the world’s finest apples and apple varieties. Multiple generations of family farms and dedicated growers have cultivated nutrient rich fruits in Washington’s fertile soil and temperate climate. Apple season kicked off late August and will continue through early November.
“At Vanguard Pride Packing LLC we are feeling pretty great about the quality expectations of this year’s crop,” said Craig Stauffer, CEO of Vanguard International back in August. “The trees and the fruit here in Washington seem to have weathered the summer heat quite well. There are a few varieties that look to be a wee bit smaller in fruit size but it’s early days and there is plenty of time for fruit size to catch up. For our many export programs slightly smaller sizes are actually desired.”
Vanguard Pride anticipates apple volumes in the Pacific Northwest to be around 130 million standard carton equivalents, or 5.2 billion pounds. Compared to 2016 this is very similar in overall volume, with a potential 1 % decline. The harvest began with the Gala variety and Honeycrisp right behind them. Gala, with its mild, sweet taste and crunchy texture makes a great start to the season. “There are a plethora of new varieties coming in, in different stages and timelines as it relates to commercial production – volume that would be noticed in the market place now,” continues Stauffer. “With respect to the better known varieties we would expect to see an increase in early crops, Honey Crisp and Gala. There is a lot of energy in the Washington apple community around Cosmic Crisp but commercial production on that particular variety is several years away.”
Each and every Washington grown apple is picked by hand and then delivered around the world. Harvesting without the assistance of machines ensures quality, protecting apples from bruising. Vanguard Pride upholds a high standard for the produce sold around the world carrying the label of Washington Apples. “Vanguard Pride Packing LLC is excited to be once again packing and marketing their own apples. This is all part of our strategic plan of being able to offer our global network of customers high quality, food safety assured and great tasting fruit 52 weeks a year,” explains Stauffer. “We are continuously evaluating our fruit portfolio to be sure we are in alignment with our global strategy.”
Vanguard Pride Packing LLC offers apples to a vast global network of customers. The company is pleased to use the Vanguard Pride Packing LLC portfolio of apples to grow their export business, not only with apples but as a grower themselves. They strive to increase the export apple business with their many Washington apple growers, packers and shipper partners.