Red Apple is a large Greek export company as it handles approximately 2,500 tons of cherries annually. Its main exporting countries are Slovenia, Latvia, the Netherlands, Austria, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Russia, Belarus, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Germany, while recently its exports have been extended to the countries of the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Qatar).
The production is from the Prefectures of Pella, Imathia, and Rhodope. The fruit is collected in refrigerated warehouses maintained by the company in Pella and Rhodope.
Pella is an area where cherries are the main crop and the estates extend to the foot of Mount Voras, at an altitude of 1100 meters.
In Rhodope, northwest to Komotini, a large area extends at the foot of its mountains, with long history in the cultivation of cherries. The combination of special weather conditions and many years of experience in the selection of varieties result in sweet and very crunchy cherries. About 3% of all Greece’s cherry production is produced in this small area, where the company’s head office is located. The company’s contribution to maintaining and increasing production over the years is great, as for many decades it has absorbed 95% of production from this area.
HARVEST - PACKAGING
Red Apple works with over 750 certified producers according to the global gap standard. The company remains close to the producers throughout the year. The agriculturalists who cooperate with the company advise the producers and they are present in pruning, spraying, irrigation, selection of new trees, but primarily at the ideal time of harvest.
Immediately after receiving the freshly picked cherries from the producers, selection and packaging begins. Cherries go into an ice-water spray process through Hydrocooler and then they are transferred to the selector – calibrator in parts, which takes care of the exact separation of sizes and shades. This process essentially ensures the consistently high quality of the fruit.
After selection, packaging, and pre-freezing, the company exports to the Balkans, Europe, and Asia, by road or by air. Red Apple has succeeded and is responsible for the supply of well-known chains in the Balkans and Europe.
There are many varieties of cherries; several varieties are grown in Greece, while the cherries produced are considered to be of exceptional quality. The most well-known varieties are: Satin, Samba, Larian, Crystalina, Early Bigi, Nimba, Rocket, Early Star, Grey Star, Black Star, Big Star, Lapins, Bakirtzeika (Greek variety), Ferovia, Skenna, Regina, Kordia, Sweet Heart
In addition to the above varieties of cherries that are for immediate consumption, there is also a variety of crunchy cherries at Komotini and Edessa, which are harvested differently (their stem is removed), which are intended for industrial use.
The quantities of industrial cherries are large, if one considers the quantities needed by the processing industries to end up with jams, sweet preserves, compotes, and much more.