Fruit Club Expects 2016 To Be Sweetest Year Yet

Consumers in the Upper Midwest obviously like having fresh fruit from orchards across the United States delivered to them. Business at The Fruit Club has increased steadily during the past three years, and sales are projected to reach a new high in 2016.

“We’re looking at tripling business in 2016. We expect to sell more than 3,000 tons of fruit this year,” says Irina Kleinsasser, co-founder of The Fruit Club.

Sales at The Fruit Club began modestly in 2013. The South Dakota-based company sold a few truckloads of fresh cherries its first year. About 125 tons were sold. Expanded fruit choices and new truck routes pushed sales up to more than 1,000 tons in 2015.

Sales are expected to climb higher as products, markets and consumer interest in healthy eating continue to grow.

“By cutting out the middleman, we are able to bring good, farm-fresh fruit directly from orchards to families at a reasonable price,” Kleinsasser says. “No one in the United States is doing what we’re doing. “

Truckloads of fruit from orchards are delivered monthly to dozens of cities in nine states. The type of fruit varies, depending on what’s fresh and available. Customers order their fruit in advance at www.thefruitclub.net. They select a pickup location and pay for orders at the site.

The Fruit Club has more than 200,000 members. There is no membership fee. Members may sign up for a newsletter to share recipes or get texts with delivery information.

Peaches from Georgia are the top seller, followed by cherries and strawberries from the West Coast. Cherries typically are available in June, and peaches are available in July.

Orders for strawberries will be taken in February and March.

Red and green grapes from California were added to the fruit options in 2015. Changes in 2016 will include the addition of fresh pineapples. The pineapples will come from a fourth-generation family grower in Costa Rica. Orders will be taken in April.

In addition to expanding fruit choices, deliveries will be extended to cities in three more states during 2016. Stops in Arizona, Georgia and Texas are being planned, according to The Fruit Club.

States with drop-off locations, in addition to South Dakota, are Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, Missouri and Illinois.

The Fruit Club significantly expanded operations in Minnesota in 2015, and additional stops are planned this year in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Trucks will stop in more than 25 communities in Minnesota during 2016.

Six communities in northwestern Iowa currently get deliveries. The Fruit Club hopes to expand stops in Iowa in the future, too.

Courtesy The Fruit Club