An apple a day keeps the doctor away — and keeps Prime Fresh Handling super busy! Apples have literally burst into popularity within the last 30 years. Growing up, our parents would toss us a Red Delicious or McIntosh apple, and we would happily munch away. Today, there are so many wonderful varieties, in fact, over 100 different types in the United States alone. With this awesome fruit, the selection seems almost endless — and we are more than happy to try them all. Being in the business, however, we know that fruits in season taste the best. Welcome to apple season!
According to a recent article in the Produce Blue Book (Aug. 10, 2023), this was a wonderful year for apples, despite the late bloom. CMI Orchards, one of the leading apple producers in Washington State, let us know that the weather conditions were idyllic and great blooms allowed farmers to “play matchmaker by planting popular, profitable managed varieties and the best-tasting core varieties in select micro-climates and harvest altitudes – all of which allows them to bring the freshest, highest quality, most popular products to the market.”
“Farmers are excited and so are we,” says Cristina Moscoso, West Coast General Manager for Prime Fresh Handling (PFH).
Planting or grafting, pruning, weeding, feeding, thinning, watering, and finally harvesting — apple farming is serious work. While Washington State produces the most apples — more than 60 percent of the entire U.S. crop — several other states have friendly climates and cultivate a variety of delicious apples. Washington gives us the Granny Smith, Fuji, and the ubiquitous Red Delicious; New York produces the McIntosh and the aptly named Empire apples; and Michigan farms the Golden Delicious and Jonathan apples.
Farmers provide us with only the highest quality apples. They select fruits that are free from defects, diseases, and pests. Successful producers carefully sort and pack apples in sturdy, well-ventilated containers or crates made of materials like cardboard, plastic, or wood, lining the interior with cushioning materials to prevent bruising.
Hard Work Pays Off
PFH is all too familiar with the importance of keeping this multi-billion-dollar industry afloat. Worldwide, the global apple market has reached over $78 billion. China leads the world in apple consumption, with the U.S. coming in second. In fact, a 2021 USDA study proved that only bananas beat fresh apples in the U.S., with the average American eating approximately nine pounds of apples per year.
“With so many of us thoroughly enjoying this versatile fruit, shipping and handling of apples is an extremely busy and quite delicate activity,” says Moscoso. “A bruised apple is perfectly safe to eat; unfortunately, the crunch of the apple is what attracts the savvy consumer. The challenge for PFH is ensuring that we are mindful of the care it takes to properly handle this bountiful and popular produce.”
Specific and Special Shipping
As a shipper, Prime Fresh Handling communicates directly with production to ensure that the fruit arrives at its destination in optimal condition. If certain cushioning materials block ventilation and the apples arrive with mold, modifications must be quickly made so the harvest is successful.
Additionally, we ensure that apples receive individualized attention. They will absorb the odor of other produce, such as onions and cabbage. Apples produce the plant hormone ethylene, so shipping apples with commodities such as tomatoes, which are sensitive to ethylene, would result in over-ripening of the other produce. It’s not enough just to be careful with shipping; PFH does the research and has the needed handling expertise.
Preparing this incredibly popular fruit for transport is accomplished smoothly when you know your produce product’s particulars. We load this precious commodity carefully, communicating with farmers to be certain that each package is clearly marked with information about the variety, origin, destination, and specific handling instructions.
Thoroughly Talented Transportation
Once the apples are in our capable hands, we take care to store the apples at temperatures between 30-32°F (-1 to 0°C) with 90-95 percent humidity; and when the apples are ready to roll, our containers and climate-controlled transport trucks maintain those ideal conditions.
PFH ensures that the transportation process is effortless. The summer apple harvest is about to wrap up, and the autumn apple harvest begins in September. We are more than efficient in our planning of the shipping schedule to minimize the time that apples spend in transit. We find the most direct routes to be certain that the apples remain fresh.
And when shipping internationally, we comply with import regulations and follow all phytosanitary requirements of the destination country. “It’s in our DNA to continually be on the lookout for creative alternatives to keep costs down,” adds Moscoso. “It’s not easy, but we are the shipping and handling industry pros.”
Apples need to be kept within their optimal range along their journey. With harvest upon us, it’s incredibly important for retailers to capitalize on this quality crop. Working with PFH, you can rest assured, knowing that we will communicate with all — from the growers to the shippers to the receivers. Everything will be managed in our capable hands.
As Moscoso notes, “You can and should depend on us… we’ve been shipping perishables for more than two decades!”
Mother Nature can sometimes toss a wrench into transportation, and unexpected delays can occur; however, PFH has contingency plans in place and follows best practices to increase the likelihood that the apples will reach their final destination in excellent condition. So, get ready to enjoy a crunchy, fresh, and sweet or tart seasonal apple (maybe hand one to your kid’s teacher, too).
About Prime Fresh Handling
As leaders in perishables distribution logistics and delivery of fresh produce, our clients range from apple growers and distributors to wholesale and retail outlets, hotels, and cruise ships. In addition to handling apples, PFH is the authority on reliable international shipping and handling of temperature-sensitive commodities such as fresh-cut flowers and pharmaceutical products, vaccines, and fresh and frozen fish between any point of origin and destination around the world.
Our efficient transportation and secure storage methods ensure that time-sensitive perishable products stay fresh and undamaged throughout the entire shipping process. With dedicated state-of-the-art facilities in Europe, South America, and across North America, PFH leverages industry-leading technologies such as vacuum cooling, sorting, re-packing, barcoding, labeling, and temperature and quality monitoring to guarantee consistent, safe, and fresh delivery.
In addition to Los Angeles, the company’s primary gateway cities include New York, Miami, Amsterdam, and Bogotá — all providing fast and easy access to all of the world’s major markets.
Contact Prime Fresh Handling
Please contact PFH General Manager, West Coast: Cristina Moscoso at 323-328-8650, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.prime-fresh.com.”
For additional coverage of the apple industry, please visit this blog we released on August 18, 2023, telling of India’s decision to lift its long-standing retaliatory tariff on American apples. https://prime-fresh.com/blog/indian-apple-imports/