Oneonta Growers Look Forward to an Early Stone Fruit Season
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
WENATCHEE, WA - Mild weather throughout winter and spring has bloomed into an early stone fruit season for Oneonta, bringing the company’s conventional and organic tree-ripened fruit a week to ten days sooner than usual.
The timing, according to the company, has not affected the quality of the fruit.
“Volume and sizing of the conventional [apricots] will be similar to last season, but our organic volume will be up slightly this season, mostly due to new acreage of Robadas coming on line,” Oneonta Marketing Director Scott Marboe said in the press release, stating that certified apricots will ship through July 15, with conventional cots shipping from June 10 through July 20.
The first organic apricots are set to ship on Monday, June 1st.
“For the past several seasons, we have been working to increase our organic volume in all categories,” National Sales Representative Bruce Turner commented. “Consumer demand in organic and natural continues to grow, and our customers demand it. We plan to continue adding more organics to our manifest every year.”
The company noted that it expanded its entire stone fruit program last year, with nearly 30 percent of total volume being composed of:
- Organic apricots
- Organic peaches
- Organic nectarines
- Three varieties of organic pluots
The white-fleshed laCrème variety, also notable in the apricot category, is packed in the 12/1-pound clamshell, which Turner reportedly said are “ just too good not to try.” Oneonta is also adding late-season Gourmet Apricots in its reportedly popular one-pound pouch packaging.
Marboe said the apricots are of excellent quality, as well as being small, sweet, and good for snacking. He also added that California is finishing its apricot season early, with demand anticipated to be excellent for Washington fruit.
The late-season fruit, according to Turner, are New Zealand-originated varieties that start July 25 and run about six weeks.
The company stated that consumers can expect to see its organic peaches on shelves June 25th through Sept. 1st, with conventional peaches shipping on Aug. 1st, through Sept. 15th, finishing somewhat earlier than normal.
“The volume and sizing on conventional peaches is similar to last season,” Marboe commented, saying the 2015 crop looks excellent. “Our organics will be off just slightly as acreage is grafted to newer white-flesh varieties.”
Nectarines are down somewhat in volume this year, according to the release, with an early start. Organics will ship June 25th through Sept. 1st, and conventionals will start Aug. 1 and ship through mid-September with strong demand anticipated in both categories, according to Turner.
The Robada pluot variety, according to grower Scott Kehl, "melts in your mouth." The proverbial “new kid on the stone fruit block,” pluots will start up with organics around Aug. 25th, finishing three weeks later.