Fall fruit harvest well underway

OROVILLE – All the pears and most of the golden delicious apples have already been picked and growers are moving on to harvesting their red varieties.

“We have about 90 percent of our goldens in the warehouse and right now all our pears are in and galas are in,” said Greg Moser, General Manager of Gold Digger Apples.

“Before you know it will be into our grannies, fujis, jonagolds, braeburn and cameos,” he said.

Moser stated that overall the fruit has been looking good and the majority of the fruit is of a better size.

“The quality looks good, but we are keeping an eye on it because we had a lot of days with 100 degree temperatures this summer,” said Moser.

While the state crop appears to be down it looks like Gold Digger’s crop will be up.

“It looks like we’ll have a full warehouse… the tonnage is definitely up,” he said.

The general manager said the higher tonnage is a combination of new growers coming to the warehouse and larger fruit size.

“Rather than the 100s and teens, we have 88 and better… it is definitely the size the retailers like,” Moser said. “As for growers bringing in fruit, that’s a combination of new growers and old growers coming back.”

He says that the warehouse is doing a good job at being efficient and that’s attracting growers.

“We have one line running that we revamped in August and we are running day and night, six days a week,” he said.

Moser says he expects to see two shifts a day for six days a week through March or April when it will drop back to two shifts just five days a week.

“Everyone has stepped up. The workers are great and meeting our goals. From the growers through the employees they all want to succeed,” he said.

Moser expects prices on the apples and pears to be pretty good, especially with the short state crop. However, he cautions that even when things appear to be good markets can fool you.

“Our cherry crop this year was the largest crop we ever packed. It was a 65 percent increase over the biggest we had before but the returns were not favorable. We had a wide range of frustrations over it because of our high quality and we got caught up in the volume,” he said.