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Monday, March 2, 2015

FirstFruits NEWS ~ March 2015 Issue

FirstFruits NEWS
March 2015 Issue

"A Quality Fruit Company Committed To Bearing Fruit...Fruit That Will Last" (John 15:16)

Challenges for 2015
The 2014 harvest has brought First Fruits Marketing (your sales group) another interesting season.  Each season is different, bringing unique opportunities and challenges. The summer weather was almost too good and, based off the last 5 years of solid sales pricing, the 4,000 growers in Washington State have continued to  plant more acres of apples as well as to replant orchards from free standing trees to trellised trees.  Trellised orchards can now produce more than 80 bins per acre compared with the old standard of about 40 bins per acre. 

With all of these new and updated plantings, Washington State harvested by far the largest crop ever!  Blessed by good exports and the focus on nutrition in the US, the State has been able to effectively sell 120 million boxes of apples each of the last 5 years-sell well and deliver great pricing back to the farmer, who has to invest all the money up front before the apples are even there to harvest and sell. 

This year, Washington State harvested 155 million boxes of apples (and usually grows about 70% of all apples in the nation).  Selling this volume of fresh apples is a huge task.  Because of the volume and the competition, the price of a box of apples falls significantly----and because apples are "cheap" fewer customers will buy lower grade apples.

So with the big crop, times are good for employees in the fields, packing houses and sales office, but very difficult for the farmer.  A couple of other things are also hindering sales. First, you have read about the Port strikes. Each week, Washington State sells about 500,000 boxes of apples outside our country to nations across the Pacific Ocean.  If we can't get them there, those sales don't happen and the extra fruit adds to inventory here.  Second, so much of our fruit this year is very large in size; there are not enough buyers to take that fruit and the prices drop even more.   Because there are so many apples and so much competition, it is difficult to set and hold a price for apples.  Our competitors in the valley are working daily to take customers away from us.

Pray with us for success in selling our apples. We have a long way to go and the new crop is only six months away!         

Story by: Keith Mathews, CEO & General Manager of FFM

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