A Letter from our ceo
Jake Samuel, CEO Sunrise Fresh Dried Fruit
I started to write this out in August and here we are in October! It has been a very busy, long, and full summer for Sunrise Fresh. We made it through another cherry harvest – one of the largest California crops in 10 years, making it one of the most challenging. As the summer continued Blueberries, Peaches, Pears – and now Apples – have all been harvested and are continued to be in some parts!! Our family also farms and harvests nuts, so we have kept busy harvesting our almonds and now our walnuts. Hope to slow down by Veterans Day!
This year has been a challenge on all fronts, and you’re not a farmer if you don’t complain about the weather. Mother Nature provided ample rain for California this winter, and she conspired to delay harvests of all our crops by about two weeks. This made the big push of harvesting the fresh fruit and processing of fresh to dried a challenge as the peak season came quickly and was a volume I had never seen before. With the delay across all crops, the harvest came in about 20% over estimates, making the marketing and sales for the fresh produce harder than anticipated and pushed our processing ability over capacity.
Now we are well into Fall, and at least things have cooled off a little. The cooler September helped most crops but has made our almond harvest longer, and other crops begin later than usual. There is a lot of talk around another wet El Nino year, so the push to be done by Halloween is on!
As for the inflationary points, I am cautiously optimistic. From all that I have been following it looks like there may be a soft landing and there is some hope of leveled interest hikes. One thing is for sure is that the Fed is like the cherry harvest, the only consistent point to be worried about is their inconsistencies. A lot of the inflated pricing we saw a year ago, which had been pandemic-driven increases, have leveled off, and shipping, thankfully, is no longer the crap-game it had become.
Fuel prices are still up in California, as hurricanes and Middle East conflict seem to deter the pricing from going downward. Although pricing bounces around daily for fuel and oil, the costs from our other major suppliers have stabilized: fiber (cardboard), plastic and fertilizer. This makes planning a little easier as we start looking to 2024. Unfortunately, we expect some increases in other areas as labor and insurance costs continue upward.
Consumer behavior is the unpredictable factor influencing our current economic landscape. Despite the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, consumers still purchased essentials and dine out. Their confidence is essential for business growth. Earlier this year, a wave of caution impacted consumers and major Consumer Packaged Goods companies, alongside large hospitality chains, leading to a slow-down in orders during our peak season. This caution was primarily attributed to anticipation around the Consumer Price Index and the Federal Reserve's decisions on interest rates. However, as the holiday season nears and a semblance of balance emerges between inflation and the Consumer Price Index, we are witnessing an encouraging uptick in orders.
We’ve also managed our first full season with Sunrise Dryers, our facility in Colusa, CA – and it’s been great and challenging to have that capability right at our fingertips. This is part of our integrating more of our operations to make a more efficient process for our customers and our consumers!
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions When Choosing Your Dried Fruit Provider
Here at Sunrise Fresh, we get a lot of questions. They come in by phone, email, thru the website, and even Social Media. We think it’s because we are a premier supplier of dried fruits to the industry and the ‘go-to’ provider for many of our customers.
How easy is it to buy direct?
Well, we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible. Our challenge is that we have awesome customers ranging from Mom’s who want healthier snacks for their kids – and buy one bag at a time, to huge Food Companies who buy by the truckload. We appreciate and serve them all, so the answer to this FAQ depends upon who’s asking!
If your family is looking for better-tasting and healthier snacks and recipe ingredients, we make our consumer products available on Amazon.com and Walmart.com. At these platforms, you can order and get a bag or two within a couple of days – fast, fresh, and easy.
If you are in the Foodservice business and have decided to use unsweetened dried fruits - as ingredients or in your recipe formulas, you don’t want to jump through hoops or a bunch of 3rd parties in order to get your order. We’ve made it pretty easy – you can purchase bulk sizes (from 4 to 20 Lbs.) of all our fruits at either Amazon.com or through our Webstore: SunriseFresh.com.
For stores and restaurants looking for case lots and bulk sizes, we are on FAIRE or ABOUND Marketplaces or U.S. FOODS distributors, so you can order Sunrise Fresh products online, 24/7. Easy and quick!
Last, but not least, if you are in the market for industrial applications (more than a pallet), you can connect with our Sales Team at Sales@sunrisefresh.com and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs. Please note that we also process custom sizes, viscosity levels, quality specs and delivery methods to fit your needs. Contract pricing is always available at higher quantities. We make it easy!
New Product Spotlight
Please Welcome Sweet Apples!
That’s right – for all of you who have been asking, “Hey, why just ‘Tart’ Apples?”, well, we’ve got an answer. And you can try some now! Crunchy, tangy, and sweet, these gems make great additions to salads, Trailmix, cereals or all by themselves. As always, no-sugar-added and no preservatives – just Sweet Apples! You can grab some now at Amazon.com and Amazon B2B.
Our Sweet Apples are dried in the same manner as our “Tart” apples and come in similar-sized slices. They are joining the ‘1 Pound’ group of products to start, soon to be followed by other Bulk and Consumer sizes. If you are in need of larger wholesale quantities, just contact: email@example.com for more information.
Update from Colusa
We’re almost finished with our first full drying season at Sunrise Dryers – and boy, was this a busy place! A lot of people ask about our drying process – and it’s a great question. Up in Colusa, our facility can run up to 72 ‘tunnels’ that dry the fruit (or veggies…) by heated forced-air.
Fresh fruits or veggies are sorted and placed on huge ‘trays’ that go into the tunnels and then are forced-air heated and dried. We started this year with some Cherries from last year’s harvest to test the equipment. Cherry harvest began soon after and we continued throughout the summer with Pears, and finally, a couple of weeks ago, sweet and tart Apples.
While most of the work at the dry yard is for Sunrise Fresh branded product, Sunrise Driers also does contract processing for other growers and processors. “ With the capacity of the facility,” noted Sunrise Fresh CEO, Jake Samuel, “We can dry several different types of fruits at one time, which most suppliers cannot.” So far this season, one of the more interesting customer fruits being dried have been Kosher Golden Raisins!!
“Next year, we will be able to really expand the thru-put of the facility…” added Case Samuel, Chief Sales Officer, “and, of course, we will be doing a lot more of our own fruit here as well.” Sunrise Dryers also works with IQF fruit – Individually Quick Frozen fruits that are held, frozen, until needed for production. This is common in the ingredient industry because although fresh cherries are only harvested for about 60 days, manufacturing takes place all year long.
We’ll keep you updated as we make more improvements and prepare for next year’s harvest. Keep Dry!