A Stellar Year for EverCrisp in Washington
Gus Heinicke, orchard manager, Columbia Fruit Packers in Wenatchee, Wash.
The MAIA-1 apple – marketed as EverCrisp® – may be the next big variety at Columbia Fruit Packers. “I’m going to plant more acres so we can move forward with EverCrisp,” says Gus Heinicke, one of the orchard managers for Columbia Fruit.
Though he had a limited number of trees producing this year, it was a stellar year for EverCrisp in Washington. “The fruit on the older trees is outstanding. Those who are eating EverCrisp have really, really liked them.”
In spring 2017, Gus planted five acres of MAIA-1 trees and grafted four more acres. He estimates that between a couple orchard managers they have 15 or 20 acres at Columbia Fruit. He says, “The trees are growing well, and everything looks good.”
“EverCrisp has our sales and marketing team really excited. I think the apple exceeds a lot of other varieties,” says Gus. “EverCrisp apples offer everything people are looking for: sweet flavor, great texture and quality that holds well.”
He envisions EverCrisp as an exclusive offering in a variety mix that their sales organization, CMI, can take to the stores. While it will take at three to four more years to get fruit packed and to the retailer, the prognosis for market acceptability is good. “Someone is going to say, ‘Boy, this is a great apple, we want it and we want every one of them.’”
Apple industry outlook: It doesn’t have to be the prettiest apple. The taste, the flavor, the firmness of the fruit – that’s what people are looking for in a new variety.
Future of EverCrisp apples: I think organic will be a good niche for EverCrisp apples here. I have some already growing in organic production and will likely transition more of them to organic.