Stemilt's Brianna Shales Looks Down the Road Toward Summer Stonefruit
WENATCHEE, WA - To say that I live for stonefruit could be taken as an exaggeration, but don’t we all live for fresh offerings in our own way? As we gear up for the summer season, I turned to Brianna Shales of Stemilt, who gave me the rundown on what to expect in the coming months.
“Volume-wise, we are expecting a great size, highly promotable apricot crop that will run from mid-June through July. Peaches and nectarines come on in mid-July and run through mid-September for us,” the Marketing Director told me. “The peak for apricots is going to be from July 4 onwards for about two or so weeks. On the peach and nectarine side, August will be a key month for promotions and then again in early September before the season winds down for us.”
Stemilt prides itself on growing stonefruit in Washington State. During harvest, the warm days and cool nights help lock in the flavor that the supplier is known for.
“Those conditions lead to some of the best fruit color and flavor you’ve ever seen,” she told me. “Our stonefruit program is all organic, which—along with the flavor of the fruit—can make for a huge differentiator for retailers.”
Another aspect of the program is that it’s packed in Stemilt’s Artisan Organics™ label, which helps the fruit stand apart from both other regions and other competitors.
“The label really helps the organic category stand out with summer offerings,” Brianna explained. “We also have a Top Pick program for ultra-premium fruit that is picked from the top parts of the tree. Top Pick boxes have a big, bold promise to the consumer that they will experience ‘the most incredible fruit ever’ when they purchase these peaches and nectarines. For a retailer who wants to deliver a great experience to drive repeat purchases, it’s a great package for in-and-out promotions during the peak season.”
The marketing conditions are looking favorable, with apricot volumes up over last year. Peaches and nectarines, as Brianna noted, are generally more consistent.
For retailers looking to take advantage of that extra supply of apricots, Brianna shared this.
“There are fewer cots in other growing regions so shifting typical promotions to organic cot promotions in the July timeframe will be a good retail strategy,” she expressed.
We’ll be at the ready with even more stonefruit insights as the season nears, so stay tuned!