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Exploring Apples: Honeycrisp, still the leader

bp exploring apples

Every new apple variety hopes to be the next Honeycrisp.

“Honeycrisp continues to dominate the marketplace and has become a staple in many households,” says Chuck Yow, director of sales for BelleHarvest Sales, Inc., BB #:104436 of Belding, MI.

“It’s the fastest growing variety and dollar-driver in the category,” Yow says. “Another fan favorite is the SweeTango, which kicks off the apple season early on and delivers a boost to the produce department. Gala continues to be a top selling mainstay variety on a sheer volume basis.”

Lindsay Huber, international marketing specialist for the Washington Apple Commission BB #:160338, says, “The varieties that are ‘winning’ would be Honeycrisp and proprietary/club varieties, which are in small volumes with production controlled by a limited number of growers.”

“For California, Gala and Fujis are doing well,” observes Todd Sanders, CEO of the California Apple Commission BB #:153589. “Granny Smiths are still popular, due to California growing a solid green apple, but the volume has decreased as some growers have shifted to less labor-intensive crops.”

Diane Smith, executive director for the Michigan Apple Committee, BB #:157755 says Honeycrisp continues to do well.

“In 2020, the Honeycrisp variety increased by nearly 16 percent in both sales dollars and units sold from 2019, according to data from Nielsen. Gala and Fuji are also popular varieties grown in Michigan, and EverCrisp is increasing in popularity as well.”

There is also interest in other, more exotic varieties. Riggan points to two, proprietary to Chelan and with red flesh: LucyGlo and Lucy Rose. Although he says they’ve generated plenty of excitement, they will only be availability in limited quantities in the fall.

This is an excerpt from the Apple Spotlight in the July/August 2021 issue of Produce Blueprints Magazine. Click here to read the whole issue.


Richard Smoley, contributing editor for Blue Book Services, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in magazine writing and editing, and is the former managing editor of California Farmer magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, he has published 12 books.