Stemilt Growers' Brianna Shales Talks Stemilt Harvest for Cherries, Pears, and Apples
WENATCHEE, WA - As the summer continues on, the Pacific Northwest cherry season is nearing its peak of harvest in Washington State, which means Stemilt cherries are coming from the famous Stemilt Hill. Starting at an elevation of around 1,000 feet, Stemilt will continue picking cherries fresh daily into parts of August as it climbs up to 2,500 feet in late July with its special high-altitude cherry program, called A Half Mile Closer to the Moon™.
“Cherry harvest had a record early start in Washington this year and was compressed. This means harvest will wrap earlier than past years. However, with our unique high-altitude cherries, called Moon Cherries, Stemilt can carry retailers further into the summer with freshly harvested premium cherries coming in late July and early August,” Brianna Shales, Communications Manager, tells me.
The company has also kicked off its Kyle’s Pick™ Program which Stemilt will be shipping until mid-July. This program is built around large sizes and top varieties with incredible firmness and dessert flavors.
“We are really taking the best-of-the-best cherries and putting them in these designated packs so that retailers can promote quality for the whole month of July and into August,” Brianna adds. “July is a huge and important month for cherry sales. Promotions should be in full effect now and should continue all the way through the month of July.”
Stemilt is encouraging retailers to promote Cherry Festivals now, by showcasing a variety of different cherries on ad at the same time. Cherries are impulse purchases and big, dynamic, and eye-catching displays of large, high-quality fruit help consumers put cherries into their cart.
“When quality comes first and cherries are well displayed, they become a destination place at retail,” Brianna tells me. “Once the consumer sees the quality and the presentation is there, then the customer will come back and repeat purchase- a goal we all strive for.”
Moving forward, Stemilt is looking to kick off its pear harvest during the second week of August which is not too far form the norm, with Gala apples following soon after that. Stemilt’s apple and pear harvests have great timing for back-to-school promotions for retailers and plenty of Lil Snappers® opportunities are available to promote the ideal kid-friendly fruit in the convenient 3-pound pouch bag. The company’s apple harvest will continue from mid-August all the way until Pink Lady apples are picked from the tree at the end of October.
Keep an eye out for Stemilt’s Artisan Organic™ Summer Fruit program on stonefruit as well, which will begin in late July and run until mid-September, and offers a great differentiation point for quality-focused retailers. This is the seventh year Stemilt’s entire crop of peaches and nectarines has been certified organic.
With the summer heat setting in, the convenience of cool, fresh, fruit is at the top of my list.