Stemilt Growers' Skeena Cherries Bring Prestige to Kyle’s Pick® Program
WENATCHEE, WA - The main contributor to one of Stemilt’s most premium cherry programs, Kyle’s Pick®, is harvesting now and gearing up to land in consumer carts everywhere. Skeena cherries, a variety from Canada, are big, dark, and really firm—a perfect companion for the coveted Kyle’s Pick program.
“Skeena is an excellent variety to be the backbone of the Kyle’s Pick program,” states Tate Mathison, Sales Director and son of Kyle Mathison, the fourth generation cherry grower who is the inspiration behind Kyle’s Pick. “It is a beautiful cherry that comes from British Columbia that consistently meets the large size and high-quality parameters of the Kyle’s Pick program.”
According to a press release, Kyle Mathison constantly seeks out the newest and best varieties to include under the Stemilt World Famous brand, and Kyle’s Pick represents specific quality standards that cherries need to meet before they leave the company’s packing facility—standards he set himself. Those premium varieties that fit Kyle’s Pick standards include Skeena, Sweetheart, and Bing.
“Skeena is a big, dark, and really firm variety making it a top contender for Kyle’s Pick,” says Tate. “They are peaking at 9 to 9½ row and are coming off the trees with a beautiful deep, dark purple color that really pops on the shelves.”
Stemilt Hill near Wenatchee, Washington, where Kyle Mathison grows, is a climate truly unique to other cherry growing regions. The Hill has its own microclimate that entraps cool night air to offer protection from the summer heat, the company says, allowing the trees to flourish and provide plenty of sugars to the cherries. It's this unique climate that has contributed to the success of growing the Skeena variety.
“The Skeena variety acts and responds a little differently than other varieties we grow, as it does well in the heat,” says Tate. “They enjoy a dry climate that is hot, making the Hill the best place in the world to grow.”
Stemilt is currently harvesting Kyle’s Pick cherries, and retailers can load the program through early August. Kyle’s Pick is available in random-weight pouch bags as well as 1 lb and 2 lb clamshells, with every package stamped with the Kyle’s Pick emblem. Tips for merchandising at retail include promoting this program by using grower-centric cherry displays (featuring both Kyle and Tate Mathison) in heavy traffic areas and using easy-to-assemble pop-up displays in secondary locations to drive impulse sales.
Following Kyle’s Pick, Stemilt will transition into its high-elevation cherries, A Half Mile Closer to the Moon®, starting mid-August. Touting the longest cherry season in the business, Stemilt also is encouraging retailers to continue planning cherry promotions well into August to end the season strong.
“The Kyle’s Pick program is a great way to keep your sales elevated during the summer months,” says Tate. “And the Skeena variety is a great supporter of that.”
I’ll be honest, if Kyle Mathison tells me a cherry is a premium one, I will definitely take his word for it.