Mac Riggan Details the Chelan Fresh Cherry Program; Post-Heat Wave Success and Outlook
CHELAN, WA - As Mother Nature keeps produce departments on their toes, technology continues to step in to help mitigate complications, address consistency, and ensure a quality item makes it to the retail shelves. With the recent heat wave across the U.S. Pacific Northwest, many wondered how cherries would fare, especially in the coveted growing regions of Washington State. As Mac Riggan, Director of Marketing, Chelan Fresh, tells me, adopting technological advancements has allowed the company to maintain program excellence, even in the midst of triple-digit temperatures.
“The heat wave that came through the Pacific Northwest around the beginning of July did impact supplies and the industry has experienced some losses. But, with new sorting and packing technology, Chelan Fresh has been able to ensure that only the best quality cherries make it into our packaging,” Mac shares. “We are shipping a great box of fruit with wonderful flavor, quality, and integrity.”
Chelan Fresh is shipping ample volumes of dark sweet varieties and will continue to do so through the first week of August for retail partners.
“We were able to navigate the heat much better than expected, thanks to our investments in quality control and ability to pivot with flexible harvest hours,” Mac reveals.
Going forward, Chelan will be moving into its Canadian varieties at higher elevations. Sizing has been down a bit this year, but Chelan is still supplying retailers with cherries that meet their size and quality specifications.
“Cherry supply is meeting demand and I believe that we will see demand pick up in the coming weeks,” Mac adds, noting that Chelan Fresh is about halfway through the season. “We are optimistic about the second half of the season and all the promotional opportunities and partnerships in store.”
As the cherry season continues to demand a premium at retail, please check back with AndNowUKnow for the latest on the market, harvest, and what is yet to come!