Stemilt Growers Promises High Retail Sales with Honeycrisp Program
WENATCHEE, WA - Forward-thinking companies like Stemilt Growers are thinking beyond the holiday season, ramping up spring programs and encouraging retailers to look ahead. This is made easy through the apple provider's Honeycrisp apple program, which includes premium programs like Honeyhill™ Incredible Honeycrisp apples and Artisan Organics™ Honeycrisp.
“We have a state-of-the-art Honeycrisp program that allows retailers to carry a consistent quality of Honeycrisp apples in their stores nearly year-round,” said Roger Pepperl, Marketing Director. “We have added in beautiful Honeycrisp strains as well as a fantastic line-up of organic Honeycrisp apples that will delight consumers.”
Pepperl noted that over the years, Stemilt has evolved into a top supplier of the variety, using its years of experience to perfect the art of growing premium Honeycrisp varieties. It has now added Premier and Royal Honeycrisp strains to its lineup. According to a press release, Premier comes off the tree early in the growing season and kicks off the Honeycrisp season with great color and qualities. Royal is a high color Honeycrisp strain with high starch reserves, which helps Stemilt with long-term storage needs. Royal Honeycrisp not only extends the variety’s season but also helps Stemilt deliver premium Honeycrisp with fall-like flavors throughout the year.
“We have recognized the demand of this apple variety for the past several years and have planted around that demand with several strains and new Honeycrisp crosses,” explained Pepperl. “Those trees are now responding by providing us increased volumes and high qualities of the apple eating experience that consumers are after.”
In addition, Stemilt created a branded box in which to showcase its premium Honeycrisp apples. Honeyhill Incredible Honeycrisp cartons are carefully packed with high color and high-quality Honeycrisp apples. Stemilt also grows Honeycrisp apples organically under Stemilt’s Artisan Organics brand and packs its petite-sized Honeycrisp in the popular kid-size fruit brand, Lil Snappers®.
“Honeycrisp is available in bag or bulk, conventionally or organically, and in various sizes so that any type of consumer will be satisfied,” remarked Pepperl. “Our organic consumer will especially be happy because our Honeycrisp crop is nearly 40 percent organic. With this, we will also be able to provide the organic consumer high quality Honeycrisp apples nearly year-round.”
By planting new Honeycrisp strains and trademarking apples from the same breeder that originally developed Honeycrisp, Stemilt has been able to strengthen its crop over the past several years. It has also developed harvest and packing protocols to provide Honeycrisp with all the extra care it needs.
“Picking Honeycrisp is quite tedious at Stemilt, but that extra care is how we ensure quality first,” said Pepperl. “Fruit is picked by hand, stems are clipped, and then crews will hand place each apple in a specific pattern in the bin to prevent bruising. On the packing side, it’s all about having specific storage regimes for Honeycrisp and packing to order for maximum freshness.”
Outside of supplying three strains of Honeycrisp for near year-round supply, Stemilt has amplified its apple presence by adopting successors to Honeycrisp, Rave®, and SweeTango® as signature apples. Both have Honeycrisp as a parent and come from the same breeder at University of Minnesota that discovered Honeycrisp. Rave comes off the trees in late July to kickstart the apple season, while SweeTango arrives a few weeks later.
“There is a high demand for flavor among consumers and that’s what Honeycrisp and its successors have brought to the apple category,” said Pepperl. “Our Honeycrisp program has been designed to help retailers extend their season, differentiate on flavor, and expand premium offerings in the organic category. Together, we can keep building successful plans to grow this variety and the apple category.”
It’s not even December and Stemilt already has me longing for spring! Keep reading AndNowUKnow for all of your program updates.