May 1 apple holdings have changed a lot over the past five years


The U.S. Apple Association says the May 1 fresh apple holdings are down 13% over 2018, but there’s a richer story to be told in varietal shifts over the past five years.

Most people know I’m a nerd for apple reports. I pore over ad trends and storage reports like I’m reading a good novel.

Honeycrisp and Red Delicious are two apples that everyone loves to watch, and their rise and fall are readily apparent in the latest apple report.

Don’t get me wrong, the slice of the storage apple pie that Red Delicious takes up is still significant. In 2019, Red Delicious was still 31% of fresh apple holdings, though it’s down -17% over the past five years.

Honeycrisp, however, is about 7% of fresh apple holdings, up 181% over the past five years.

Other varieties that saw significant jumps and drops?

Braeburn is down -37% over the past five years, and Golden Delicious is down -53%. I don’t put too much stock in “Rome Sport” as it makes up such a small part of stocks, but it’s down -91%.

Jonathan apples are up 126% over the past 5 years, and Pink Lady is up 38%.

Slow and steady gala is posting a solid 25% gain in fresh apple holdings, as well.

And we’ve got to talk about what’s happening with Ambrosia for a minute here. This is the first year US Apple has reported Ambrosia volumes recorded on May 1, with 425,000 boxes reported, which puts it ahead of varieties like Braeburn, Cortland, Rome, Empire and more.

The 800 pound gorilla in the room, however, is the vast category of club varieties like Envy, Jazz, Kiku, Kanzi, Autumn Glory, Pacific Rose, Ruby Frost, Opal, Snapdragon…the list goes on…that we don’t see in these reports. We all know many of them are more of a year-round deal nowadays.

I even got a shipment of Sweet Cheeks – a Cripps Pink/Honeycrisp cross – sent to me from friends at Hess Bros. Fruit Co., Lancaster, PA. I wasn’t aware this variety made it much past Christmas and here it is May already and I’ve got a dozen in my fridge.

Here’s an interactive look at what the apple holdings “pies” look like over the past five years. Scroll over to see the storage numbers pop up.

By Blue Book Services