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Oneonta ramping up Juici, WA Koru and promos

Northwest-grown Koru, increased volumes of Juici, the return of the kid-friendly applesnaQ promotion and good organic supplies are key components of Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers’ 2017 Washington apple season, according to Marketing Director Scott Marboe.

“Our first Koru, planted a couple years ago here, will be packed for the first time in Washington, and we are really excited to have this for our customers,” he noted on Aug. 10.

“Our New Zealand Koru apples have been gaining momentum and have a great following among consumers. Having these first domestic apples will help keep that variety growing at the retail level.”


In addition to the Koru, Wenatchee-based OSRG is also focusing on Juici, which Marboe said will be “entering a few more markets this year.” Volumes are up in both varieties, he said.

Marboe said the season kicked off with Premier Honeycrisps on Aug. 12, followed by Galas on Aug. 24.

Golden Delicious comes in that same time frame, and Marboe said Oneonta will finish its 2017 harvest in early November with Pink Lady varieties.

The overall crop “is looking really good,” and he added, “We had an interesting summer with a lot of good growing days.”

Early on, the consensus was that “we would have a lot of smaller sized apples, but the size has really improved over the course of the last few weeks,” he said. “I predict we will have a great range of sizes depending on varieties, with plenty to go around.”

Several promotions will be staged during the season, including in-store demos with Juici and Koru.

“We have brought back our applesnaQ program and will be making that a year-round promotion,” he said.

Convenient and reusable applesnaQ tote and mesh bags will be available at retail, and Marboe said, “We also have a number of other activities and events set up around the country throughout the fall.”

Organics is another bright spot in the program, he said. “We thought we would be down slightly on our organics, but that has not turned out to be the case. We should be right at the same levels we were last year, and we have a lot more organic apples in transition. Our organic volume will only get better as the years progress.”

Marboe said new technology continues to be introduced to the operation.

“We have installed a new packing line in our Wenatchee facility, and this will be the last season for the pear line at our Diamond Starr Growers packing facility in Odell, OR. We will have a state-of-the-art line built by Unitec exclusively for pears,” he said. “It is really going to be something, and we are very excited to have it.”

As domestic business stays strong, exports are also doing well, he said.

“Our export business is good. We know there is some instability around the world right now, but demand and the desire for Starr Ranch apples worldwide continues to be strong,” Marboe said.