The KORU® apple is just hitting its stride this spring as the favorite late season apple. KORU® has an excellent flavor profile with hints of vanilla, a crisp texture, beautiful color for displays at the store level and best of all – extended shelf life in both stores and at home for consumers.
According to Chelan Fresh Senior Director Denny Annen, “the KORU® is now available year-round with strong domestic production and imports arriving from New Zealand in late May. Because KORU® keeps so well, late spring and early summer is the perfect time to highlight KORU® in stores with big displays of quality fruit”. KORU® is also slow to brown when cut, making it a good option for cheese pairings and fresh spring salads. Look to chelanfresh.com/recipes for unique recipe ideas like KORU® apple sausage and KORU® apple chutney that are perfect for incorporating KORU® into a daily routine.
As the domestic KORU® season wraps up in early June, high quality KORU® apples from New Zealand will begin arriving in the U.S. allowing for a seamless transition and continual supply of this popular apple. Ask your Chelan Fresh sales team member how to feature KORU® in your store.
Countdown to Cherries
The first warm days of spring always bring excitement and the word “CHERRY” to conversations here in the Northwest! Here at Chelan Fresh we love our apples and pears, but we are especially passionate about Cherries. Because when you’re one of the largest shippers of both Red Sweet and Rainier cherries your passions run deep.
Currently the Chelan Fresh orchards are still in the Bud Swelling stage based on the progression chart above. Our ultimate start date will be determined by the number of degree days from now until full bloom and once we hit full bloom, we know harvest is a short 60-75days. We anticipate the harvest to start around the 2nd week of June but Mother Nature could give us some really warm spring days that may allow us to begin harvest sooner. Once Chelan Fresh cherries are harvested, we plan to ship those cherries within 12-36 hours of harvest and processing. We take great pride in our farmers who make sure that our cherries are harvested at peak times in the early summer mornings, cooled at the orchard sites and are kept cold until they reach retailer shelves.
In addition to packing clamshells for Red Sweet Cherries, Chelan Fresh plans to roll out more sustainable packaging options such as TopSeal trays that feature 30% less packaging and will be available in 2lb, 3lb and 4lb sizes. Our 2.25 lb pouch bags with their striking graphics, bilingual messaging and beautiful see through windows are the perfect option for consumers who buy cherries for their family to enjoy. Beautiful, sweet, Rainier cherries will continue to be packaged in see through 1lb and 2lb clams and the popular 1.25 lb pouch bags. The Orondo Ruby® cherry is only available for a short time starting the last week in June through the middle of July in 12 oz , 1 lb and 2 lb clamshells. The beautiful red-blush color of this cherry and its complex flavor gained it the nickname “Nature’s Perfect Cherry”.
If organics are your preference, Cascade Crest Organics® Red Sweet and Rainier cherries are produced by 4th and 5th generation farmers who are proud of their organic farming heritage. Look for our Cascade Crest Organics® label fruit in clam shells and pouch bags at retailers who are committed to organic produce programs.
Women in Agriculture | Yesenia Cervantes
Many of the orchards in Chelan valley are a family affair, with women playing a critical role in running smooth operations and growing the business. In our blog series “Women in Agriculture” we sit down with them to discuss their roles and thoughts on the industry.
This month we checked in with Yesenia Cervantes at Borton Fruit in Yakima Washington.
CF: Hi Yesenia, thank you for speaking with us today.
YC: You are welcome, glad to help.
CF: Please tell us what your job duties are at Borton Fruit?
YC: I am a line supervisor at the warehouse in Yakima. That means that I make sure we are processing the fruit accordingly to our quality and packing standards. I also supervise 95-100 employees in the warehouse.
CF: Does that mean that you spend most of your day walking the warehouse floor?
YC: Not always, I also do quite a but of work at my computer during the day as well, there is a lot to process in this job and it keeps me busy.
CF: How long have you been with Borton Fruit?
YC: 28 years total!
CF: Wow, you must love your job!
YC: I do love it. I started as a fruit packer when I was 15, it was supposed to be temporary over a holiday break but I ended up staying. I have also worked on the stamper, moved up to assistant supervisor before becoming a supervisor myself. I have been in this position for 20 years now.
CF: So you have worked for Borton Fruit your entire working life. That’s incredible! Did you grow up around the fruit industry as well?
YC: Yes. I was born and raised in Yakima, my mom was an apple picker and would take me with her to work so I have been around orchards all my life. Eventually she started working at Borton Fruit which is how I got my first packing job at 15 years old.
CF: What kind of changes have you seen in the industry during your time there?
YC: I have seen lots of of changes over time. In just the warehouse alone we have had four different computer systems over the years. Technology is changing all the time and we continue to upgrade which means implementing and re-learning new systems. But, the one thing that has remained consistent is the quality of our fruit and our processing standards.
CF: What is your favorite part of the job?
YC: For 28 years every day has been different! Being a supervisor is not the kind of job where you clock in and do the same thing over and over. I love the variety that every day brings. And I am busy so my days go fast.
CF: What are the biggest challenges of the job?
YC: The biggest challenge is keeping 100 employees motivated. There are times when people can get frustrated or unhappy, my job is to keep everything running smoothly and everyone happy so they love their jobs too.
CF: As a working woman, what is your secret for balancing work and home life?
YC: I raised two sons while working here, they are both in their 20s now and one is working here at Borton as well. My secret is to leave your work problems at work and your home problems at home, and don’t mix them!
CF: Wise advice! In your opinion, where do you feel the industry is headed in the future?
YC: I see the industry growing bigger, and with technology advancing the way it is, the warehouses will continue to get more advanced as well.
CF: Thank you for your time and enjoy the spring weather!
Downloadable Easter Guide
To the members of Chelan Fresh, spring means warmth, Easter, orchard blossoms and most importantly, time spent with the ones we love. Fun hands-on activities are the perfect opportunity to do just that. As the temperatures continue to rise, we hope your spirits will too. Please enjoy this gift from our family to yours and have a happy Easter! Click here to download.
Employee Spotlight | Janette Meneses
At Chelan Fresh, we know our employees are every bit as important as the fruit we sell. We are thrilled that Janette joined our team in 2018 and continues to excel at her position.
Name: Janette Meneses
Position: Export Sales Assistant
Favorite Apple: SugarBee®. I love the sweet flavor and crunchy texture.
Favorite Cherry: Rainier Cherry, they are so sweet. They aren’t around for long so I try and stock up as much as I can during the season. I’ve found that they freeze well (but you need to pit them first!) and I can enjoy a Rainier cherry treat throughout the year!
Favorite part of working at Chelan Fresh: My favorite part about working at Chelan Fresh is the people who I work with. I have met some truly great people working here. I think that this job would have been completely different if I didn’t get to work with who I work with now. Both Mario and Gustavo, who are my salesmen, have completely taken me under their wing and have gone above and beyond to teach me everything I know, and will continue to learn.
Another one of my favorite parts about working at Chelan Fresh is the markets in which I get to work with and the interactions that I get to have with different markets around the world. The markets that I currently work in are Mexico, Central and South America.
Favorite thing to do outside of work, something that is near and dear to your heart: After graduating Eastern Washington University, I wanted to come back to Chelan be around my family. I think that after 4 years of being away I just wanted to be home.
One of my favorite things to do outside of work is spend time with my family, especially my younger brother. He is 8, and I think it is necessary for him to have another sibling around who he can learn from and interact with. We spend a lot of time at the movie theater or at the Redbox® in town. Lately we have been working on our summer bodies and that has involved a lot of walks through the park and random pushup sessions throughout the day.